Amochhu busi­ness com­mu­nity in quandary over re­lo­ca­tion

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Kr­ishna Ghal­ley from Phuentshol­ing

Amochhu Land De­vel­op­ment and Town­ship Project (ALDTP) is sup­posed to kick-start soon this year fol­low­ing which more than 40 busi­ness es­tab­lish­ments along the river bank will have to va­cate the area.

Some of the busi­ness­men have al­ready sub­mit­ted ap­pli­ca­tions ask­ing for des­ig­nated ar­eas for re­lo­ca­tion, but the Phuentshol­ing Thromde is yet to re­spond leav­ing them in a quandary.

“We have ap­proached the Thromde but the au­thor­i­ties said only es­tab­lish­ments which the project will ham­per are go­ing to be re­lo­cated. We are hop­ing for the best,” said pro­pri­etor of JB En­gi­neer­ing Work­shop, Karma Wangdi Ta­mang.

Cur­rently, the busi­ness com­mu­nity along the left bank of the Amochhu River is will­ing to va­cate the stretch of land where they stand but hopes that the govern­ment will re­lo­cate them so that they can con­tinue busi­ness un­in­ter­rupted. With­out in­ter­ven­tion from the Thromde, the busi­nesses are ex­pected to die.

The Amochhu busi­ness com­mu­nity

is more than decade old. Busi­nesses along the river com­prise au­to­mo­bile work­shops, godowns, ware­houses and man­u­fac­tur­ing plants plus shops.

Some of them har­bor plans to re­lo­cate them­selves while oth­ers have their fin­gers crossed since the Thromde does not seem to be very forth­com­ing about re­lo­cat­ing them.

Mean­while, work­shop own­ers are hope­ful they will be re­lo­cated to ar­eas where the op­er­a­tion en­vi­ron­ment is con­ducive. Fur­ther, the present site does not fa­vor work­shops due to bad road con­di­tions. The un­paved road lead­ing up to the work­shops is rid­dled with pot­holes that stag­nate with wa­ter dur­ing mon­soon.

“Not many mo­torists visit the lo­ca­tion due to the road con­di­tion. We would be glad to re­ceive a new lo­ca­tion if the project comes through; we can also pro­vide bet­ter ser­vices,” said Karma Wangdi Ta­mang.

The busi­ness­men have al­ready signed an agree­ment ex­press­ing that they will va­cate the lo­ca­tion for the new town­ship project. Be­cause of the agree­ment, the busi­ness es­tab­lish­ments have been un­able to up­grade their struc­tures and ser­vices as of now. Ow­ing to this, the au­to­mo­bile work­shops are also pro­vided en­vi­ron­ment clear­ance for a year although it used to hold for two years ear­lier.

Karma Feeds is plan­ning to shift its man­u­fac­tur­ing plant to Pasakha. “We have agreed with the Thromde to va­cate so it is wise to pre-plan. The project will start any time,” said the Di­rec­tor of Karma Feeds, Koin­chok Wangdi.

Mean­while, Bhutan Con­crete Bricks, a bricks man­u­fac­tur­ing plant does not have plans to shift any­where any­time soon. The pro­pri­etor, Ten­zin Dorji, said that un­less the river is trained prop­erly, the project can­not start. “By that time, I may re­cover the amount I have in­vested and will look for other ar­eas,” said Ten­zin Dorji.

Some au­to­mo­bile work­shops feel that the Thromde might allot a time frame for the es­tab­lish­ments to va­cate the area. “Ac­cord­ingly, we will look for suit­able lo­ca­tions. But it would be more con­ve­nient and or­ga­nized if the Thromde could al­lo­cate a des­ig­nated area,” said TDS Work­shop’s pro­pri­etor, Tashi Wangdi.

Busi­nesses along Amochhu are in full swing. Last year’s flash flood had af­fected some of the es­tab­lish­ments but they are now con­tin­u­ing as usual es­pe­cially af­ter river di­ver­sion works.

How­ever, Phuentshol­ing Thromde Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary Wangchuk Thayey, said that the Thromde is not man­dated to re­lo­cate or al­lo­cate land for the busi­nesses though it can iden­tify land and ne­go­ti­ate with land own­ers for the same.

“The es­tab­lish­ments which fall un­der the Thromde’s Lo­cal Area Plan would be de­vel­oped into res­i­den­tial space,” he said adding that once the ALDPT starts, the busi­nesses will have to va­cate the land as per agree­ment.

“The Thromde has al­ready no­ti­fied es­tab­lish­ments lo­cated along the road align­ment to va­cate,” said Wangchuk Thayey.

The Thromde has also iden­ti­fied lo­ca­tions for the au­to­mo­bile work­shops at pri­vate lands at Al­lay on the way to Pasakha and has al­ready ne­go­ti­ated with land own­ers for re­lo­ca­tion.

Photo: UC Dorji

The South Asian As­so­ci­a­tion for Re­gional Co­op­er­a­tion (SAARC) Cham­ber for Com­merce and In­dus­try (CCI) ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing was held in Thim­phu from July 23-25.

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