Inauguration of housing project in Phuentsholing
Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay, consecrated and inaugurated the ‘ Special Affordable Housing Project’ under the National Housing Development Corporation Limited ( NHDCL) in the presence of Venerable Tsulag Lopen in Phuentsholing on 29th of July, 2018.
The project envisaged by His Majesty The King was initiated to address the acute shortage of affordable housing in Phuentsholing.
The construction of the Special Affordable Housing Project began in July 2016.
The Phase- I of the project will house to 160 families. The PhaseII and Phase- III of the project will be completed later this year with additional 346 units. The phase- III project will construct 62 building with 506 housing units.
Lyonchhen met the staff of NHDCL and the contractors involved; and thanked them for working hard in order to complete the project on time.
Finance minister Lyonpo Namgay Dorji, Chairman of the Special Housing Committee; officials from Chukha Dzongkhag and Phuentsholing Thromde attended the program.
All 506 affordable apartments under NHDCL ‘ affordable housing project’ in Phuentsholing will be allotted to Bhutanese living across the border by next month.
NHDCL officials, during the inauguration of the first 20 buildings on 29th July, said the flats would be allotted through a lucky draw to ensure the allotment is fair and transparent.
Officials said that after the allotment next month, the 20 buildings with 160 units inaugurated on 29th July, would be immediately provided for occupancy. The remaining 346 units from 42 buildings would be provided to tenants by November this year as and when they are ready.
There are 62 buildings with 506 units at 10 different locations. The government provided Nu. 890M for the project.
An official of NHDCL said with various records from Phuentsholing Drungkhag, Thromde, and Bhutan population and housing census data, they are doing a physical verification of Bhutanese living across the border by visiting the houses and authenticating the records.
Starting July 19, 2016, until January this year, about 1,259 people have applied for the flats.
The 160 units inaugurated recently are classified as category four and three. Each flat in both the categories has two bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen. However, the category three apartments have two toilets, while category four has one.
Rents for the apartment ranges from Nu. 4, 000 to Nu. 7, 000 depending on the sizes of the rooms that vary from 500sq. ft to 700sq. ft and 950sq. ft.
According to NHDCL officials, the apartments provided at affordable rent would actually cost Nu. 14, 000 to Nu. 15, 000 a month in the market.
Meanwhile, the second phase of the project, which has about 136 units, would be com- pleted by September this year. The third phase that has 210 units would be completed in November this year.
The housing crisis is one of the biggest problems in Phuentsholing.
A Bhutanese resident residing in Chinese lane, Phuntsho Dorji, 42, said, “People living in India are mostly of low income family or people who are burden with the inflated rates charge by building owners in Phuentsholing.”
He added that few peoples are ready to pay whatever the owner charge and some are even ready to give extra rent that is why it’s causing inflation for house rent and causing chaos to average Bhutanese family.
Another Bhutanese resident residing in Baubazaar, Chimmi Dema, 34, said, “Before I use to live in lower market side where I used to pay Nu. 6, 000 rent per month but after 2 years the owner start charging Nu. 8, 000 per month but I still stay there. The following year, the owner again increases the rent to Nu. 10, 000 which was beyond my capacity thus I had no choice but to vacate the house and live here in neighboring border area.”
She added, “I have been looking for the house in Bhutan since I shifted here in Baubazaar side but with vain I still can’t find an affordable house in Bhutan. Either the rent is too high or there is no availability of house in Phuentsholing.”
“I think our concern authority should look into the matter of house owner charging rent as per their wish. There should be certain fixed so that the tenants wouldn’t face any difficulties,” said Kuenzang Wangmo, a tenant residing in Phuentsholing.
She added the concern authority should also look into the matter where few people who is willing to pay extra rent and creating inflated rent.
Lack of space is another problem in Phuentsholing. However, with the local area plan completed, many private developers have started to construct houses.
Dasho Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister consecrated and inaugurated the ‘Special Affordable Housing Project’ under the National Housing Development Corporation Limited in the presence of Venerable Tsulag Lopen in Phuntsholing.