Trashigang faces acute housing crunch

For a population of 2,347, there are only 241 houses in core T/gang

Since last year, Tandin Bidha, a teacher of Trashigang Primary School along with two colleagues have been living in a tiny apartment above the town.

Their apartment has two bedrooms and a living room with an attached kitchen and a toilet.

Tandin Bidha said that it is not a comfortable when one has to share one’s personal space but they have no choice since Trashigang lacks enough housing facilities.

She said that it is very difficult to find a house in Trashigang. “I have already booked a house since last year but so far the news is not forthcoming.”

According to the population data of 2017, Trashigang has 241 residential buildings including the buildings at Keyling, hospital and court area, Melphay, Kheri and the core town.

This is against the total number of households at 559 with a total population of 2,347.

Some people stay in Pam area but it is difficult for those who do not own a car to ply to and fro from town. A population of 670 lives at Pam, Chenagri, and Deyjung where there are only 121 residential buildings.

A house owner from Trashigang said that every day people come in search of a place for rent and some of them even book a year in advance paying a certain amount.

Chimi Rabten, a government employee said that it is very difficult to find a house in Trashigang especially buildings. “We could manage a traditional house then but now even finding that is difficult.”

When he first arrived in Trashigang, four of them had to share a traditional house for almost a year but later they managed to get National Housing Development Corporation limited (NHDCL) quarters though it took time.

Chimi Rabten hopes that NHDCL will construct more buildings so that the housing crunch will be resolved.

Meanwhile, the house owners take advantage of the housing crunch. Many of them charge high rents.

“I would say civil servants and private employees of lower income bracket suffer the most,” added Chimi Rabten.

Dzongkhag Planning Officer Wangchuck said that although the authorities are well aware of the housing crunch, law does not allow the dzongkhag to construct houses so the dzongkhag is waiting for the private sector to do so.

He said that if the dzongkhag has extra land, the authorities inform NHDCL so that new houses can be constructed.

Like Trashigang, Kanglung also faces serious housing shortage.

Sonam Tobgay, a private employee said it is difficult to find a house in Kanglung. “Most of the houses in Kanglung are occupied by college students.”

Around 12,000 residents occupy Kanglung today of which half of them are college students, private, government and corporate employees.

Jigme Wangchen from Trashigang