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P/ling to get 554 new housing units

This is expected to benefit Bhutanese residing across the border

The construction of much awaited housing facilities for Bhutanese residing across the Phuentsholing border is on track.

Of 554 new housing units, 62 buildings with 506 units have already been completed at Pekarzhing. The remaining stands to be completed before June next year.

The works on the project started at 10 locations last year. The constructions comprising a single storied to four storied buildings are in full swing. Forty units will be completed by December this year and 200 units by April next year.

The finance ministry is funding Nu 890mn of the project. While seven private contractors are working on 296 units, 210 units are undertaken by Departmental Executives of National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL). Construction of each unit costs Nu 1.8mn including site development works.

Meanwhile, construction works on projects along the Amochhu river bank is ahead of schedule according to NHDCL’s CEO Thinley Dorji.

Once complete, allotment of the units will be done according to NHDCL’s allotment laws. The occupants will be given a 10-year residency. However, to cater to people of varied backgrounds, NHDCL will come up with new allotment criteria, which will be finalized by December this year.

The CEO said that proper assessment will be done prior to allotment to avoid hassles. “Some might lie saying they reside in Jaigaon but actually they would be staying within Bhutan but on the look out for cheaper rents so we need to be mindful.”

The rent for these flats will range from Nu 3,020 to Nu 5,200 as per the existing rental rate of NHDCL.

Since more than 5,000 Bhutanese reside in the Indian town of Jaigaon, the new housing colony is expected to solve their accommodation problem.

The new buildings, according to the CEO, will add to the housing stock in the town gradually resolving the accommodation crunch. However, with the floating population in Phuentsholing, the exact number of residents cannot be derived, he said.

So far, only 1,200 residents have applied with the Phuentsholing dungkhag administration for the occupancy of the new units. “We cannot say that the new housing can eliminate housing crunch entirely but we are hopeful at least half of those residing in Jaigaon will be benefitted,” said the CEO.

Currently, there are 244 housing units in Phuentsholing including the round building.

NHDCL is also executing the construction of 48 other units in Phuentsholing which will be completed by this December. The Nu 60mn project began in April last year. Altogether, Phuentsholing will get 554 new housing units by next year.

NHDCL also plans to start building another 30 units next year after completing the existing projects. “It depends upon the availability of funds and land,” said the NHDCL CEO.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing

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