Doksum residents to shift to new town by year end

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Residents of Doksum town in Trashiyangtse will have to shift to the new township by year end. The residents were supposed to shift to the new township by October in 2018 but the deadline has been extended following a request from the people.

They had previously extended the deadline from 2016 to October last year. The Dzongkhag administration had extended the deadline thrice since the development works for the new township began in 2013.

Currently, there are only eight commercial and three residential constructions ongoing in the new township. Forty commercial plot owners and 150 residential plot owners are registered with the new Doksumtownship.

As of now, only two residential plot owners and one commercial plot owner have completed construction works at the new township.

The Municipal Engineer, RinchenLeyda said that people have submitted an appeal letter to the Dzongkhag saying that the construction works in the new township were delayed due to non-availability of timber and inability to get loans from the banks.

“Residents requested for another three-year time extension. However, after discussing with the public and Dzongkhag, we have decided to give them time till December 1, 2019,” said the Municipal Engineer.

Sangay, a resident from Doksum said that the construction works got delayed because they are waiting for loans.

He said that initially, they had problems with water supply at the new location and then non-availability of timber. “Recently, officials assured that we would get timber at subsidized rates.”

Another resident said that most of them could not begin works since they do not have money. “We also face labor shortage.”

RinchenLeyda, however, said that for the construction of residential structure, Bank of Bhutan (BoB) has agreed to provide loans at an interest rate of nine percent.

“The rate was finalized last year but the bank has it on hold for now,” he said. “For the commercial structures, the loans are given as per the housing loan rates and everyone can easily avail the loan.”

A total of 40 commercial buildings of four units each and 130 residential buildings (four units each) and 20 residential buildings with two units each would be constructed in the new township.

Kholonghcu Hydro Energy Limited (KHEL) would lease 200 units of residential building during the project’s construction period. “Once the project construction completes, it will take in 120 units for the next 20 to 30 years during operations and maintenance period.”

The engineer said that a tri-party memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Dzongkhag, KHEL and BoB for the construction of the 120-unit buildings that the project would lease.

Meanwhile, the Dzongkhag administration has started charging rents from the residents of the old Doksum town starting from November last year.

This is because the house owners of the old town were paid compensation for their houses in 2013 when the town development works for the new township began.

The houses belong to the government. However, till now, the house owners have taken rent from the tenants.

The town development works began after relocating the existing Doksum town because it was found unsafe. The present town lies adjacent to Kholongchhu  below a huge cliff.

Jigme Wangchen from Doksum, T/yangtse

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