Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Bhutan : Final countdown for workshop relocation

15 September, 2008 The longstanding dispute over the Changzamtog automobile workshops has finally come to an end with some workshop owners moving to the new location in Olakha even before the September 30 deadline.

An official from Thimphu city corporation’s (TCC), Tshering Younten, said that the workshop would be completely relocated to Olakha by the end of the month. “The last work left is blacktopping, which we’ll complete within a week,” he said.

Tshering Younten said that the black topping of roads was delayed because of heavy rain. “We wanted to do things properly so that in future no one will be given occasion to complain.”

The first notification to relocate the workshop was deadlined March this year, which was postponed to April. The relocation was delayed after workshop owners complained about the incomplete infrastructure at Olakha, including blacktopping of road.

Despite a succession of lapsed deadlines, the relocation was further delayed when workshop owners demanded that access roads be blacktopped, and a proper drainage system and waste disposal site be constructed. Workshop owners and building owners also differed on the fixation of rents.

The matter was put before work and human settlement minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba, and after a long discussion on May 7 the final deadline was agreed for September 30.

This time TCC is bent on seeing the workshops relocated. “If they fail to meet the deadline, we’ll be left with no choice but to send our demolition team to bulldoze the area,” said Tshering Younten.

Meanwhile, workshop owners already face a problem at the new location. According to workshop owners, some people without automobile workshop licenses have moved into the new location. ‘

The new location will have four large workshops for heavy vehicles, 28 medium workshops for light four-wheel vehicles, and 14 workshops for two wheelers and tyre services. The present workshop area will be developed as a residential area since the area belongs to private individuals.

As per the Thimphu structural plan, the present workshop area is to be developed into a residential area.

By Tandin Wangchuk

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