Not all is well for tenants of new NHDCL housing colony

Tenants moved into the new housing colony early this year

Barely four months after tenants moved in to the new housing colony at Toribari in Phuentsholing, life has been far from comfortable.

Faced with acute water shortage, absence of waste disposal bins and pollution caused by billowing dust from the unpaved road below, the tenants are disappointed.

The National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL) had constructed the new housing colony in Toribari with 102 units of apartment for people in the low income group residing in the Indian border town of Jaigaon.

Tenants say they have been facing these issues since they moved into the new apartments. They have been fetching water from a nearby stream for other uses except for drinking and cooking. They also use a temporary water supply managed by the contractors during the construction of the apartments last year.

“The situation is terrible here. We are hit by multiple problems,”said a tenant, Pema Wangda.

Phuentsholing Thromde had arranged water supply from bore-well a few kilometers away from the apartments but the water, according to the tenants, has dried long ago. 

After repeated appeals, the Thromde has now started water delivery service daily in the evening. Around 12,000 liters of water are delivered from Phuentsholing for 102 families in Toribari.

However, tenants say it is insufficient to do or complete all the household chores.

“Our toilets stink and we don’t have enough water to take bath,” said another tenant, adding that they need water supply twice a day. 

Further, in the absence of common dustbins, tenants are dumping their waste by the roadside.

The garbage car rarely makes a visit to the colony, according to the tenants.

“It has attracted stray dogs which pose risks to our children,” said another tenant, Dorji Wangchuk.

Another problem for the tenants is the dust from the unpaved road below the colony. Tenants say it poses risk mostly to children and that they always have to keep their windows closed to restrict the dust from entering their homes.

Pema Wangda, who is also a Tshogpa, has requested the Department of Roads (DoR) to blacktop the road. He said the department responded positively. “They have promised us to blacktop the road soon. Otherwise our homes and surroundings are filled with dusts,” he said.

 Tenants also had to suffer from foul smell for months from the Thromde’s landfill below the colony which is less than a kilometer away. The smell was, however, contained after the tenants complained to the Thromde and the landfill was covered accordingly.

The absence of city bus service is another problem. Parents are concerned about how to reach their children to schools. There are more than 45 students who go to schools from the colony. Most of them hitch a ride from the road. A few office goers drop their children while some go by companies’ buses belonging to industries in Pasakha.

“It poses risks to our children when they have to travel by random vehicles,”said a mother.

The house rent is also another major setback, according to the tenants. They say they are charged equally like those in the core town area. They currently pay Nu 6,700 per month for a family apartment and Nu 3,900 for a bachelor quarter. Tenants say that the rent should be comparatively lower looking at the problems they have to confront.

“With the rent amount, there should be all the facilities like groceries and vegetable markets. Otherwise, the rent is high,” said a tenant, Nidup, adding that they have to bear extra costs in travelling to the town for shopping.

NHDCL’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thinley Dorji said the agency has deposited money to the Phuentsholing Thromde to further dig deeper as the water table has reduced during the lean season.

“The machines are already on the way and the problems will be addressed soon. Meanwhile, water has been provided from the Thromde,” he said.

  The CEO added that the works on installing common bins are also under progress. The rent, according to CEO, is reasonable as it is fixed by the government. The rent has been fixed for four years by the government.

He added that the city bus service will also be started at least every morning to reach the students to their schools.

Krishna Ghalley from P/Ling