With new buildings standing tall in the town, the double-storey arcade town of Samtse has made a significant change.

In the ongoing development of the town, there are two bakery shops today. Standard hotels and more restaurants have come up.

The town also has a coffee café for the first time.

Phuntsho Wangdi is among the five first people who completed construction of a new building in Samtse town today. He has started a hotel.

“It has 14 rooms,” the businessman said, adding that his hotel is the first standard hotel in Samtse town. “Business is picking up.”

Phuntsho Wangdi also did not face much problem in renting out commercial spaces of his building. Being first in the line, there is not much competition to face.

He, however, says there would be more competition once all the buildings are completed. “There would be more commercial spaces than the number of people who need them.”

Phuntsho Wangdi has two plots in the town. The second building is also almost completed and it has already been reserved.

Meanwhile, all the buildings in the town are coming up with commercial spaces on the first two floors. This is because of the design, which is to build up a double-storey arcade.

After all the buildings are completed, an arcade would be constructed and connect all the buildings.

The construction of the arcade would be based on the public-private-partnership model. The government would bear 60 percent of the expenses, while the remaining 40 percent would be borne by individual plot owners.

As the town infrastructure is growing and new business opportunities are opened, old grocery shops, meanwhile, have lost business.

They have lost many customers from Dophuchen (Dorokha), Dumtey, Denchukha, and Tading.

The owner of one of the biggest grocery shops in Samtse town, Gyembo, said the Amochhu bridge that connects Phuentsholing and Samtse internally, is the reason.

“Customers from these three places go to Phuentsholing now,” he said.

Gyembo also said sales dropped by 50 percent after the Amochhu bridge was opened to traffic. The shift of Sunday market from the main town to another area is another reason that grocery business has decreased in the town.

The owner of Mahavir Store said sales have gone down drastically. “It is also seasonal.”

He said they would know the impact when all the buildings are completed in the town.

Meanwhile, there are three buildings under construction and there are nine more plots where new buildings have to be constructed compulsorily.

Although Samtse thromde had approved 37 plots for construction, many are outside the core town, and some have not started the construction yet.

The plot owners have time until January 2020 to start and complete their buildings.

Town residents and plot owners think the commencement of the Dhamdum Industrial Park would provide maximum business opportunities for economic growth in the new town.

“The park development should be expedited,” a businessman said.

Rajesh Rai | Samtse