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Mongar town
Mongar town

Mongar town comes of age

Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras would be installed in 18 locations across Mongar town by this December.

Dzongkhag’s deputy executive engineer of the human settlement sector, Ram Bahadur Darjee said tender for the works has been floated earlier this month and works are expected to be awarded by the first week of November.

“By December, the cameras will be installed and operational to ensure public safety and security, and protect the expensive plants and flowers planted in and around town,” he said.

The cameras would be placed mainly in public places such as vegetable market shed, taxi parking area, children’s park, public ground, and the entrance of the dzong, among others.

 Police would operate the CCTV. 

With the installation of CCTV cameras, the core town of Mongar, which is one of the seven LAPs (Local Area Plan) will have a complete set of amenities of smart city concept the town is designed for.   

Municipal officials said the town would have all the features of a smart city such as proper accessibility, recreational area, environment friendly development like flower garden, local residents looking after the infrastructure, public safety and security, safe drinking water, sanitation and cleanliness.

The dzongkhag administration has identified more than 20 areas in the town and dzong area for beautification and planted varieties of flowers. Civil servants and the public maintain these areas every Friday.

Mongar core town area has 380 registered plots which today has 56 buildings. Acute housing shortage in the town has forced people to rent houses in neighbouring areas such as Wengkhar and Kideykhar.

The housing crunch has also caused hikes in house rent and price of commodities. While the prices of commodities are almost at par with that in the capital city, the rents for shops increased from less than 10,000 to Nu 30,000 and hiring charge for hotel has rose as high as Nu 150,000 a month.

“Even the number of vehicles have gone up in few years and it is difficult to get a parking lot in the town now,” a resident Namgay said.

However, the housing crunch is likely to ease after the National Committee for Human Settlement endorsed two LAPs – Trailing and Jarungkhashor, on September 12 this year and are ready for development. Trailing LAP has 182 plots and Jarungkhashor LAP has 82 plots.  

Meanwhile, the three other LAPs of Changshingpeg, Naling, and Yadi are due to be reviewed early next year.

For Gyalpoizhing town, 65 percent of the development works has been complete.

Municipal officials said permanent structures were being constructed in phases and that two phases including internal road and trunk road construction works are complete. The streetlights are under construction. However, the water supply and sewerage network is scheduled for next year.

Mongar town has dramatically evolved over the years from mosquito-infested jungle to a semi structural town with high future scope. 

Tshewang Rinzin, who served as Mongar thromde thuemi between 1996 and 2003, said the town barely had around 10 dilapidated makeshift hut shops. The shopkeepers constructed traditional houses after they were granted plots following the royal command of His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo in 1982.

Later in 1998, after meeting with the business community in Mongar, His Majesty commanded the allotment of plots to 32 plot owners in the existing core town area. The allotment was made in the following year.

With facilities like gewog connectivity road and farm roads, businessmen said that their retail businesses have deteriorated over the years.

“The shopkeepers in the villages come in the morning to buy goods and go back in the evening. It’s only wholesalers who are benefitted the most,” a retailer said.

However, some hoteliers say that Gyalpoizhing-Nganglam highway and west-east highway widening has benefitted them as they can reach Mongar directly from Thimphu and Phuentsholing and the commuters halt night in the town.

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