Samtse be­comes a modern town

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Kr­ishna Ghal­ley from Samtse

Samtse, one of the old­est planned towns, is fi­nally get­ting a long-awaited facelift.

Af­ter the Min­istry of Works and Hu­man Set­tle­ment (MoWHS) ap­proved the plan­ning for the Lo­cal Area Plan (LAP) 1, new con­struc­tions have mush­roomed begin­ning early this year. Al­ready, the town has got sev­eral modern fa­cil­i­ties that had been ab­sent for a long time.

Now, with two new build­ings com­plete, the town has a tourist stan­dard ho­tel, restau­rants, shop­ping com­plex and en­ter­tain­ment cen­ters. Four more build­ings are un­der con­struc­tion. Works on the rest will be­gin


Af­ter all the build­ings are com­pleted, the res­i­dents of Samtse will get other fa­cil­i­ties, too. So far, the town had re­mained prim­i­tive with sin­gle­storeyed build­ings and mar­ket sheds.

Eigh­teen new struc­tures will be con­nected by an ar­cade along the front of the build­ings. The dou­ble­storeyed ar­cade will house shops and other fa­cil­i­ties. Nu 109mn has been al­lo­cated for the en­tire town devel­op­ment.

The new con­struc­tions com­ing up this year will be com­pleted by 2020. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity has man­dated the land own­ers will­ing to con­struct, to build four­storeyed struc­tures to give a uni­form look to the town. The other build­ings which will not be con­nected by the ar­cade can be or­di­nary and need not nec­es­sar­ily be four-storeyed, ac­cord­ing to Samtse Dzongkhag’s Mu­nic­i­pal­ity In-charge, Ten­zin Drakpa.

The ar­cade will be con­structed at the cur­rent road and the new ring road will be opened from the ground.

The open space which has been used as the Sun­day Mar­ket till now will be de­vel­oped into a chil­dren’s park. The Sun­day mar­ket sheds are now per­ma­nently re­lo­cated be­low the core town called De­vithang and will be used to sell only or­ganic veg­eta­bles on Sun­days.

How­ever, the bus sta­tion and taxi park­ing will be kept as they are. All the ac­tiv­i­ties are car­ried out un­der LAP 1 where the land is ac­quired and com­pen­sated. The works on pro­vid­ing ba­sic in­fra­struc­tures are be­ing car­ried out by dzongkhag mu­nic­i­pal­ity. In­stalling of street lights, con­struc­tion of drainage and sew­er­age are also on.

“Then, we will al­low con­struc­tions by in­di­vid­ual land own­ers,” said the Dzongkhag Thromde Ngot­shab, Som Ku­mar Prad­han. The min­istry has al­ready ap­proved the plan. The dzongkhag also plans to in­stall an ar­ti­fi­cial turf in the pub­lic ground af­ter talk­ing to the Bhutan Olympic Com­mit­tee.

“We are hope­ful we will get it by 2018. We have ini­ti­ated di­a­logue with them,” said the Dzongkhag Plan­ning Of­fi­cer, Tashi.

The con­struc­tion of ar­cade will be funded 40% by the govern­ment and the rest by the owner. The road widen­ing work will start from the bor­der to the town. The sur­vey for the con­struc­tion of the theatre is un­der progress.

Mean­while, lo­cals say that the new town devel­op­ment is ex­pected to boost lo­cal econ­omy and solve the hous­ing crunch. Samtse is al­ready fac­ing hous­ing short­age and peo­ple work­ing in Samtse are stay­ing as far as Khan­duthang and Cheng­mari al­most 8-10km from town.

As Nor­bugang Cen­tral School is un­der con­struc­tion, the pop­u­la­tion is ex­pected to in­crease.

Also, it is be­ing pre­dicted that the devel­op­ment of Dhamd­hum In­dus­trial Park will cause a spike in pop­u­la­tion.

“The new town if com­plete will bring eco­nomic devel­op­ment and solve the hous­ing cri­sis,” said Phuntsho Wangdi, the owner of a re­cently con­structed build­ing.

The open­ing of the Samtse-Haa route could also at­tract peo­ple. Samtse, be­ing closer to Silig­uri, busi­ness­men from Paro and Haa are ex­pected to visit the town for shop­ping rather than rout­ing through Phuentsholing.

The town plan­ning ac­tiv­i­ties started more than a year back.

Mu­nic­i­pal­ity au­thor­i­ties said that the town will be based on lo­cal needs and be sus­tain­able and en­vi­ron­ment-friendly.

“We have planned the town as a smart city hav­ing fa­cil­i­ties like open-air gym, theatre and multi-sports com­plex,” said Tashi.

Cur­rently, Samtse has a pop­u­la­tion of 4,664.

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