Phuentsholing township development project along Amochhu to start next year

The works on the Phuentsholing township development project along the Amochhu will begin from next year.

The project will be implemented by the Construction Development Corporation Limited (CDCL), a subsidiary of Druk Holding and Investments and the main client that will initiate and manage the project.

The project will initially start from Zone A where civil works involving river embankment work of 4.8m height supported by diaphragm wall of about 4.5km length on the left bank will be undertaken. AFONS India will take up the development works of the project worth Nu 2,934.6mn. CDCL and AFONS India signed a contract agreement to seal this deal last week.

Meanwhile, the CDCL has also signed another contract with EGIS International worth Nu 352mn to be its consultant.

A total area of 162.88 acres will be made available for development in Zone A, according to CDCL’s Chief Executive Officer, Phuntsho Gyeltshen. The township envisages development of a new town on the reclaimed land, which would comprise commercial, residential, special development areas, institutions and recreational areas. Road network, water supply and sewerage collection and treatment, power and telecommunication and flood warning system will also be installed in the zone.

“The completion and approval of the final Integrated Detailed Project Report in 2017 was a result of 24 months of input of consultation with various stakeholders including technical assessment and review by the consultants, PPTA team from Asian Development Bank, finance ministry, DHI and CDCL,” the CEO said, adding that the consultants having expertise will help them to take up the project.

According to the CEO, the next phase will be announced subsequently once the works on zone A commence and reach halfway. The entire town development project is expected to take a minimum of four years. The project will then explore business and financial aspects to develop the town. DHI will look into inviting Foreign Direct Investments and other private sectors.

Meanwhile, the Department of Road will work on the development of Phuentsholing-Samtse Highway. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has committed to provide major funding for Zone A of the project with DHI committing to inject a considerable amount as equity. The loan and grant agreement was signed between the ADB and Bhutan government and the project agreement between ADB and DHI/ CDCL on the July 3, 2018.

On account of the geographical location, Phuentsholing faces constant threat of sedimentation and erosion from uncontrolled flows of Amochhu every year. In addition to being a constant threat to life and property, these floods have been a major contributor to the loss of invaluable flat terrain. For many years, Phuentsholing Thromde and the government have been gravely concerned about the frequent and severe flooding of the past few decades. Besides, Phuentsholing has grown manifold over the years with limited physical expansion possibilities on the ground since its expansion is constrained by unstable hill slopes on two sides, Amochu on the third and the Indo – Bhutan border on the fourth. The town’s growth has resulted in a serious shortage of land for further development and expansion with immense pressure on urban infrastructure.

Phuentsholing township development project, therefore, proposes a resilient riverfront to mitigate the threat of flooding and erosion, thereby making land available for a planned expansion of the existing town of Phuentsholing.

The carefully prepared Master Plan of the project is expected to serve as a guiding document for planned expansion for the next 20 -30 years. The project integrates relevant parallel projects and proposed developments of Amochhu Local Area Plan and Phuentsholing-Chamkuna highway.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing