Kho­longchu pro­ject causes house rents to shoot up; ramps up lo­cal busi­ness

Business Bhutan - - Money - Jigme Wangchen from Trashiyangtse

The Kho­longchhu Hy­dro­elec­tric Pro­ject in Trashiyangtse has caused sea changes in the oth­er­wise sleepy, lit­tle east­ern town where noth­ing much seemed to be hap­pen­ing.

In­un­da­tion of pro­ject em­ploy­ees has caused a short­age of ac­com­mo­da­tion caus­ing house own­ers to in­crease rents dras­ti­cally.

Some ten­ants have even been forced to va­cate apart­ments and houses with rents ris­ing. A num­ber of civil ser­vants were com­pelled to va­cate houses as they could not pay as much as the pro­ject em­ploy­ees.

Tsh­er­ing Dorji, 55, a re­tired civil ser­vant said that his Nu 1,500 per month rent sud­denly dou­bled to Nu 3,000 per month. “Such in­crease in the house rents and hous­ing short­age has left low-in­come fam­i­lies in a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion.”

How­ever, Jigme Dorji a teacher said that this is the first time the town is see­ing such a high rate of de­vel­op­ment since he ar­rived in Trashiyangtse nine years ago.

When he first came to Yangtse there were very few peo­ple, build­ings and ve­hi­cles.

“Now, this has changed,” he added, “the Kho­longchhu pro­ject has also helped boost the lo­cal econ­omy.”

Ac­cord­ing to Jigme Dorji, projects such as this help to con­trol ru­ral-ur­ban mi­gra­tion as they pro­vide job op­por­tu­ni­ties to the youth and res­i­dents of Yangtse.

Mean­while, he said that in­fras­truc­ture de­vel­op­ment due to the pro­ject will benefit the dzongkhag.

A farmer from Yangtse said that the Kho­longchhu pro­ject is help­ing lo­cal busi­ness­men and farm­ers like him through steady in­come gen­er­a­tion and rise in com­mod­ity prices.

“Ear­lier, a bunch of sag would cost around Nu 5 but now with the in­crease in the num­ber of res­i­dents, we sell sag at Nu 10-Nu 15 per bunch and some­times for even more.”

He said that this has en­cour­aged farm­ers to work harder and in­crease agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion.

A shop­keeper from Yangtse said the Kho­longchhu pro­ject has in­creased his cus­tomer base.

“The num­ber of shops is in­creas­ing.”

Dzongkhag Plan­ning Of­fi­cer Son­amThin­ley said the dzongkhag has sub­mit­ted a de­tailed pro­posal to the Na­tional Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd (NHDCL) for the con­struc­tion of quar­ters for dzongkhag of­fi­cials very soon.

Of the three Lo­cal Area Plans (LAP) in the Thromde, LAP-one and LAP-two has been ap­proved. Sonam Thin­ley said that such mea­sures are ex­pected to solve the hous­ing crunch in the dzongkhag.

He agreed that house rents sky rock­et­ing over the years has forced civil ser­vants to live in far away vil­lages.

The Kho­longchhu Hy­dro­elec­tric Pro­ject kicked off in Septem­ber 2015.

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