Plot owners in the extended Bajo town of Wangdue Phodrang were once joyous over the news of the upcoming Town Extension Project. However, their joys were short-lived. The infrastructure development works in the extended town are getting delayed due to budget constraints. As a result, plot owners say, they are not even allowed to construct small structures. They are now requesting the authorities concerned to expedite the infrastructure development works in the extended town.
Around 120 acres of the Bajo extended town fall in between the existing town and the Bajo Lhakhang. There are around 270 plots in the area.
The district administration began the infrastructure development works in the extended town area in April last year.
So far, only road clearing works have been completed by spending more than NU 2.6 M. Other works couldn’t continue due to budget constraints.
With other developmental works on halt, some portions of the road are even covered in bushes while some portions have become risky for animals and people.
Today there are only two futsal grounds in the area and most of the plots remain idle.
The Wangdue Phodrang District Administration initially planned to allow plot owners to start construction of buildings by July this year.
Plot owners say they are unable to carry out any construction or agricultural work on their land.
The district administration has restricted construction works in the area until all the infrastructure development works are completed.
“I have three sons and a daughter. One son is a monk and the other two have their wives at home with us. It would be convenient for us if the government let us construct houses individually. It is difficult to accommodate in one house. Of course, we have given one plot each as their share to all the children and we are ready to start the house construction immediately if they permit,” said Passang, a plot owner.
“When we ask permission from the Gewog office they say we fall in the town area. However, when we ask the Thromde, we are not getting permission to construct even a toilet in our area. Moreover, we could at least sell vegetables by cultivating in our plot in the past, but today, we are not even allowed kitchen gardens as our area falls in the town. If they allow us, we are ready to start construction works right from tomorrow,” said Sonam Dorji, a plot owner.
Bajo Thromde Ngotshab Kinley Dorji said, “some plot owners are complaining that their money is going to waste. Plot owners claim that they bought the plots by taking loans from financial institutions thinking that it will benefit them for generations. However, they are frustrated as they are unable to do things as planned. There is no other solution. We have the government, the district administration, and the Thromde Office. And I feel it is important for us to respond to the plot owners positively after discussing with the offices concerned.”
According to the Bajo Municipal office, the town extension works will be prioritized in the second financial year of the 13th Five-Year Plan. Thromde officials say they have proposed close to Nu 25 M to the government through Dzongkhag Tshogdu for the construction of a sewerage line.
Following the completion of the sewerage line, works will begin to construct a service duct, footpath, water and power supply, and finalize the internal road network in the next phase.
Changa Dorji, Wangdue Phodrang
Edited by Phub Gyem