A master plan was submitted to MoWHS and Bumthang dzongkhag in October last year
Dekling: Blacktopped roads, lines of streetlight ready to be switched on, pavements for pedestrians and streets already named, Dekiling town is all ready to receive the business community of Chamkhar town.
But after years of “planning”, Bumthang’s new township will take some more time, even years, before it becomes the new business hub. The only change, since it was stalled because of a decision to include more areas into the township, are in the bushes thriving in the empty space.
Initially, in 2007, Dekiling, measuring about eight acres, was only planned for the model town, but after consultation with the public, planners decided to extend the municipal area to Jalikhar in the south and Kurje in the north, including Dekiling and Chamkhar, as Dekiling town was found to be too small to accommodate the growing population of Chamkhar.
The new area in the master plan covers about 5.5sqkm.
The master plan, which was made jointly by the dzongkhag, works and human settlement ministry and the city of Zurich, Switzerland, was handed over to the ministry and Bumthang dzongkhag in October last year.
Dzongkhag and work and human settlement officials will soon conduct a public meeting, which is expected to be the next step in the progress of the town.
Bumthang dzongda Sangay Thinley said the previous understanding of the people was that, when the new town in Dekiling was readied, the existing houses and shops in Chamkhar would be removed. “However, the plan is to keep the existing town as it is, except for a few houses and shops on both sides of the river, which fall in red zone, at risk from the river,” he said. “There are houses, which fall in high, medium and low risk categories. The high risk houses have to be relocated first, followed by those in the medium, while the low risk has to be studied before relocating.”
Main development, according to the revised plan, will be done in Dekiling, Chamkhar and Jalikhar, because of their suitability like existing settlement, road and airport proximity and hazard or danger zone identified.
Sangay Thinley said they’d prepare the local area plan in detail after the public meeting based on the overall master plan and in consultation with the stakeholders. “Some of the initial activities would be to identify where to locate the sewerage plants and build a few bridges to connect the two sides of the river,” he said. “Within the municipal area, there are plans for bicycle tracks, pedestrian paths, road widening on existing roads, bypass road from Chamkhar to Kurje along the river and proper water sources.”
The planning of the new town started in 2010 after it was endorsed by the National Assembly on July 2, 2010. Since then, preliminary survey was done, consultation meetings and public meetings were carried out and the master plan was under process until last year, when it was finally completed.
Municipal engineer Tharchen said there is no budget identified or budget estimation done as yet, as it is not included in the yearly budget of the dzongkhag. “We need separate funding for this project, which is why the estimation will have to be done phase wise and activity wise,” he said. “The completion of this project will also depend on the availability of budget.”
Dzongda Sangay Thinley said the most important priority will be to maintain the traditional architecture in the constructions and that heritage and religious sites will not be disturbed.
The dzongkhag had also proposed the government that Garpang be included in the municipal area.
By Sonam Choden, Bumthang