More than 85 percent of the participants vying for a plot at the Industrial Service Centre (ISC) in Gelephu returned home dejected after they thought the distribution method was unfair.
To provide equal opportunity to all the participants, thromde organised a “lucky dip” for the distribution. This was the fourth round of plot distribution at the ISC conducted by the thromde since 2017.
Of the 28 shortlisted participants, 21 turned up for the lucky dip on September 12.
One each plot was available for automobile workshop and godown and five for manufacturing units. These plots were surrendered by the previous owners.
Thromde had received more than 400 applicants for the available plots.
Of the seven plots that were up for grasp, only three participants received the ‘yes’ chit from the lucky dip. The remaining four plots were retained by the thromde.
This according to the participants was unfair.
Participants argued that thromde should have removed the chits for those who did not make it to the event. “Keeping a slot for the absentees was unfair for those who were present,” said one participant.
There were 12 people competing for the five manufacturing unit plots and seven and eight people each for the lone automobile workshop and godown plots.
During the lucky dip despite missing some of the participants in each category, the number of chits for the lucky dip was kept same.
For instance, of the seven competing in the automobile workshop category there were only five who had turned up. However, the number of chits for the draw was maintained at seven. None of the five participants picked the ‘yes’ chit. The plot will remain with thromde.
Participants requested thromde officials for another opportunity to pick for the unclaimed plots. Thromde denied the request stating that it was not necessary for all the plots to be distributed.
“I wasn’t lucky enough. But the more disappointing thing was that most of us didn’t even have a chance because we were competing with people who were not even here,” said one of the participants.
Another participant, Tenzin Wangda said that thromde in their notification had stated that any participant who would not be present personally during the event would not be allowed to contest.
“This should mean that their chits must also be removed from the list,” he said.
Thrompon Tikaram Kafley said that the thromde would also require plots for other developmental works such as setting up new parking space, waste collection centres, placing new water tanks for the town and developing children’s park and gardens to add to the aesthetics of the thromde.
“While we understand their disappointment, we have given them equal opportunity for getting the plots,” he said. “Should there be similar opportunities in the future, based on the proposals that is submitted to us, we’ll give them the priority.”
It was also learnt that those people who had initially acquired plots at the ISC have started sub-leasing. The thrompon reminded the participants that it was against the lease agreement to sub-lease the ISC plots.
Tenzin Wangda said that it is a rampant practice among the plot holders of ISC to sub-lease the plots at a higher price. “These people are making profits at the cost of people like us who genuinely require the plots,” he said. “I only have a year before I vacate my current godown from where I distribute cement.”
It was learnt that some of the plot holders charge Nu 130,000 per month for a plot at the ISC. The existing rate per plot is Nu 4 per sq.ft annually. The minimum size of a plot at the ISC is about 30 decimal. On an average, each plot holder pays a sum of about Nu 13,000 to the thromde annually.
Thromde officials confirmed that they have also received information on sub-leasing practices at the ISC. “We know this is happening but we need evidences to prove this. Once we have the proof, serious actions will be taken against the defaulters.”
Meanwhile, the thromde had issued a final deadline to all the plot holders to relocate and start operating from the ISC by the end of the month. “We have given them enough time and extension. Unless the reasons are genuine, those plots without any developments will be cancelled and re-distributed,” the thrompons said.
The ISC located under the Tashiling demkhong spreads across 111.5 acres of land. A total of 110 plots (46.4 acres) were leased out since January 2017 for a period of 30 years.
Younten Tshedup | Gelephu