More than 40 plot owners are yet to begin construction in Gola, a satellite town in Sipsu in Samtse, despite construction having been allowed for town development.
Limited scope for loan repayment and unavailability of tenants have been cited as reasons for not starting construction by plot owners, while the Dungkhag administration has recently reminded the plot owners again to begin construction. It is the second reminder from the Dungkhag administration.
Of the total 76 plots in the town, 52 plots were given as Kidu from His Majesty The King for the development of the town to the people in 2013. Till now, nine buildings have been constructed, and five which have been started this year are under construction. The construction of all two-storied buildings in the town must be complete by 2020.
Gola Throm Tshogpa, Namgay, said some plot owners have finished their resources, while some are currently residing in other Dzongkhags.
Also, the unavailability of raw materials like sand from the nearby river is another challenge for the owners to start construction. Bringing sand from the Indian rivers are costly. It costs around Nu 6,000 to reach a truckload of sand at the site and has to be brought from Nagarkata and Chalsa in India.
Further, as the town is located near the Indian border town, plot owners are skeptical about the availability of tenants and town development.
In the absence of farm roads earlier, the town served as a shopping hub for more than five nearby villages. People now travel to the Indian border towns with their Boleroes and ferry goods to their respective destination directly using the farm roads. Given the limited market today, the business in Gola town has also gone down. The businessmen now depend on a handful of locals, who have the liberty to select from a number of shops in the town.
A plot owner, Ranjit Gurung, who is yet to start construction, is worried about loan repayment if he begins construction availing loans from the banks.
He thought of starting construction from his cardamom business, but in vain. “The cardamom business has also failed. We are very happy, but I am afraid to start immediately,” he said.
Plot owners are worried that they cannot make timely loan repayment to the banks due to limited tenants as some completed buildings in the town are still empty.
Phub Dorji, another plot owner, is also yet to begin construction.
With his children studying in private colleges, he said he is unable to do so. “I am financially broke right now. I will start if I have money,” he said, adding that he cannot start without availing loans from the banks. He is also afraid that some of the flats in his building would remain empty.
Another plot owner, Hem Raj Ghalley, meanwhile, plans to start construction soon after his drawings are approved.
“I am waiting for the approval. Once it’s approved, I will start immediately,” he said, adding that it takes at least a year to complete a two-storied building.
The Throm Tshogpa said water is made available for construction without any problem.
He added that some owners are also willing to sell their plots if they find buyers.
“Till now, the completed buildings are occupied by businessmen whose houses were dismantled to start new construction. But there will be enough people searching for houses in the future,” Namgay said.
Krishna Ghalley from Samtse