Industry: Work on the 349-acre Dhamdum Industrial Park (DIP) in Samtse, which is one of the four Special Economic Zone (SEZ) projects in the country has begun. A ground-breaking ceremony was conducted yesterday at the industrial site.

Nu 300 million is being provided under Project Tied Assistance by the Government of India (GoI). Work on river training and road connectivity has started.

M/s Tsamgar Construction Pvt Ltd is carrying out the road constructions, including storm drains. M/s SKD Construction Pvt Ltd is undertaking the river training works of the Dhamdum river.

There are various works that must be completed such as electricity connections, water supply, and boundary walls, before companies start occupying the area. A fund of more than Nu 2 billion is needed, officials of the Department of Industries (DoI), present at the ceremony, said.

It was announced at the ground breaking ceremony that there are 77 plots available for companies in Dhamdum. The plots vary in size from 0.5 to 2.2 acres, which would be applicable depending on the size and type of companies.

Only small and medium agro-, service-, and minerals-based projects, and cottage industries would be allowed at Dhamdum. These companies will also have to have in place pollution control measures.

“This marks the opportunity for economic development,” said information and communications minister, DN Dhungyel, at the ground breaking ceremony. He pointed out that the government is finally starting the SEZ which the people of Samtse had desired.

Lyonpo DN Dhungyel also expressed appreciation to the GoI, for its support in funding the project. GoI has also supported SEZs at Bondeyma in Mongar and Jigmeling in Sarpang, Lyonpo added.

DoI director, Tandin Tshering, who was also present, stressed the importance and challenges of the project. “We could not start the project as expected because of problems related to finance and land acquisition,” he said.

Now that the project has started, the director said the people of Samtse should support it. Importance should be on finishing the project with quality rather than on completing it on time, he said. Quality, Tandin Tshering said, would ensure the facilities are used by as many future generations.

Initially in 2006, about 600 acres of land was identified for DIP. However, with the Samtse municipality plans in place, much of the land required could not be acquired.

The close proximity to the Indian market, availability of mineral reserves, and the Samtse-Phuentsholing highway are the key elements that give an added advantage to the industrial park in Dhamdum. Among the four industrial parks, Dhamdum is the most feasible in terms of economic development and for security reasons, Samtse locals said.

Rajesh Rai | Samtse