Suspension of housing loans affects timber supply
Komal Kharka, BumthangDec 27 2012
Suspension of housing loans by the financial institutions in the country has had an unusual impact. It has affected the supply of timber in Bumthang, a Dzongkhag which is otherwise known for timber extraction.
Saw millers and wood-based industries from the nearby regions used to come in hordes to Bumthang to buy timber. But, ever since the suspension of housing loans, stacks of timber can be seen at the depots of Natural Resources Development Corporation Limited (NRDCL).
Chumey Gewog and Dawathang are the two regions in Bumthang from where most of the timber is extracted.
Every year, NRDCL, has a target of extracting over 4,00,000 cubic feet (cft) timber from Bumthang alone. It is mandatory for the NRDCL to achieve their target every year.
Last year, they supplied more than 1.9 million cft of timber from Bumthang. This year, about 80,000 cft of timber is still unsold.
The timber was supposed to be allotted to the sawmill owners during the allotment day, which was held on December 20.
We still have over 1,25,000 cft of timber unsold from six regions with us. This time we could allot only over 51,000 cft of timber.”
Regional Manager Bumthang,
“Last year when we used to conduct our allotment process there used to be a lot of sawmill owners attending the allotment and we used to find it difficult to fulfill all their demands. But this time, it is just the opposite,” said the NRDCL Regional Manager in Bumthang, Rinchen Dorji.
The sawmill owners say the demand for timber from the contractors, especially those in housing sector, has declined. They fear the demand might spiral further down as not many constructions may come up in months to come.
“At the moment the news is that the market is going to go down, but as of now we do have customers but not as much as we used to have before,” said one of the sawmill owners.
Navin Biswa, who owns a sawmill in Bumthang did not participate during the allotment. “We have been affected as demand for my product has declined drastically compared to the past.”
Udee Wood Manufacturing and Furniture Unit is one of the oldest wood-based industries in Bumthang. It deals with the supply of woods for construction works. The business has been affected too.
“For wood-based industries, our lifeline is timber, our resource and raw material is timber so when there is no demand from the market then ultimately we cannot buy timber,” said the owner of the Unit. He said they depend totally on orders.
The NRDCL has other plans to utilize the timber that are left unsold from different regions.The Regional Manager said they might supply the timber to the ongoing time-bound projects, such as Punatshangchhu Project, Dzongs and Lhakhang constructions without carrying out allotment process if need be.
Despite the huge stock of unsold timbers in different regions, the Corporation has no plans to reduce the target to extract timbers as of now. They said the demand for timber might go up in the future.