Gelephu thromde is taking advantage of the vast plains extending until the foothills of the mountains and expanding its area since its establishment in 2011.

The area away from the core town today is paved with roads, blacktopped and farm roads and buildings. Many buildings are under construction. The total thromde area is 11.52 sq. km.

The thromde, which was handed over the prepared local area plan (LAP) I and II by the works and human settlement ministry, is now implementing LAP III and IV along with the industrial service centre.

Thromde officials say LAP V is approved and would be implemented in the 12th Plan.

According to the thromde’s urban planning division head, Chhoephey Dorji, LAP VI was also prepared and the final public consultation would be done on February 8.

LAP VI is below the Gelephu-Sarpang highway and away from the 500ms ‘no construction zone.’

In the industrial service centre, 46.4 acres of land was allotted to 110 plot owners, who would be constructing and establishing eight scrap yards, four car wash services, 25 automobile workshops, 13 showrooms for vehicle spare parts, 35 manufacturing and fabrication companies, 15 warehouse depots and three television cables, printing and laundry services. The thromde has reserved six plots.

“Most owners already started their construction,” Chhoephey Dorji said. “The total industrial service centre expands to 111.5 acres including the AWP, natural gullies, roads, drainage, footpath and service plots.” Road, drainage, sewerage and streetlights are also under construction.

According to the chief development regulatory officer, Jigme Tshering, constructions are increasing in the area every year after the implementation of LAP, as thromde provides basic necessities like road network and water supply.

In the LAPs, there are residential and partially commercial buildings.

Thromde officials say that from the 12 house constructions they approved in 2011, the number increased to 31 last year. The total number of approved house constructions in the last nine years is 206.

The residents, however, say that although the thromde is expanding and many houses are being constructed, house rents are also increasing.

“There is not much housing crunch in Gelephu like in other bordering towns,” a civil servant said. “But the rents have not lowered.”

He said he stays in a three-bedroom house, which costs Nu 8,500. “In 2012, the same apartment’s rent was Nu 5,500.”

Meanwhile, with only 18.78kms of the road in the thromde area blacktopped and 23.62kms still remaining, the areas are filled with dust.

A resident of Tashiling said they are waiting for the thromde to blacktop the road. “We don’t know when they would do it.”

Thromde officials say they leave the road without blacktopping for about a year to avoid a run-off and for the soil and the gravels to settle.

Tashi Dema | Gelephu