Govt. to come up with common center for industrial park applicants

To ease the approval procedures for applicants who want to set up industries at the four industrial estates, the government is looking into having a common center, Prime minister Dr Lotay Tshering said, meeting with 45 applicants along with the officials from Department of Industry on Monday.

Lyonchhen said this center will help applicants get environment clearances, land lease certificate and also look into project appraisal by officials at the banks.

“This are reasons that delay the establishment of industries, the government was already looking to have a common center to ease the approval producers for the applicants,” Lyonchhen said, adding that he would look into issues raised by applicants with the agencies concerned and get back to the applicants.

Around 150 applicants who want to set up industries have been kept pending because of incomplete infrastructure at the industrial estates. Many of the applicants have been waiting for the clearances for more than five months and some have waited for years to start business.  

At the meeting, the applicants said that although their business proposals were ready there are many factors involved that delay business establishment.

One of the applicants who wanted to start a handloom business said that his proposal approval was delayed even though he followed due procedure.

“In the current situation, we have to follow the proceedings right from the gewog tshogdu to Dzongkhag tshogdu to ministry to agencies but nothing gets done in the end,” he said.

Another applicant said agencies keeps asking for additional information every time when they go to follow up on the clearances. “There is no expertise in the National Environment Commission (NEC).”

He added that NEC asks for additional information and most of their proposals are delayed. “Even for the same business that is already established.”

Some suggested that the government ask NEC to give evidence-based rejections. Many shared similar issues with the issuance of clearances from NEC. They said they never got a straight response from them on why their proposals are rejected or prolonged.

An applicant who wanted to set up a ferroalloy unit at one of the industrial parks asked what was the reason behind asking for another environment assessment when the particular industrial park was identified and approved.

“It takes time to get approval in the issuance of lease certificates by NEC, although the department of trade submits the applications to land commission for the land certificates,” he said.

Likewise, some applicants shared that even if their proposal is approved by the commission, the approval is not sent directly to the applicants but to the Dzongkhag, where the whole process is again delayed.   

Lyonchhen discussed the status of industries establishment at the industrial parks as well as how to work together to solve the hurdles that are affecting the establishment.

He also shared to collaborate with the government to tackle the unemployment issue. “This is also an opportunity to give us suggestions and pave the way forward,” he said.

He requested the would-be industrialists to let the government know what kind of workers they all need so that government could work and train the youth to be employed by them at the industrial parks.  

Kinley Yonten from Thimphu