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Shopkeepers refuse to budge

Two years after being asked to relocate; they wait to be apprised of the new township site

Dorokha Town: It’s been two years since shopkeepers in Dorokha town were asked to move their shops to another location, since the property belonged to the school.

The shopkeepers have stayed put, refusing to move, because they want a place identified for a new town.

“It’s not possible to dismantle our shops and move out,” town secretary Indralal Dungana said. “The dungkhag office asked us to move in 2011 to our own place, but without a town plan.”

The shopkeepers, he said, have given their word that, if an area is identified for a new town, they will move, even if they are given a month’s time to shift.

Right now, the town is located in Dorokha, just below the farm road.  There are 27 different kinds of shops housed in semi-permanent structures, which are closely built.  It has become a central place for those coming from other gewogs, like Denchukha and Dumte, and travellers from other districts.

Indralal said there are about 216 license holders in Dorokha dungkhag, who are waiting for a new township, especially with the feeder road connecting the dungkhag. “Our feeder road will in future become a highway to Haa,” he said. “If shopkeepers return to their village, it would affect their business because there’s no proper road,” he said.

The current town, which gradually came up from 1984, is established on over four acres of land, earlier belonging to the dungkhag.  It is close to the road, located at zero point, where the farm road ends.  The first place, as one enters Dorokha, is the town, and then come the dungkhag and village.

“If the dungkhag is sure where the new town will be established, we’ll move,” shopkeeper Shera Dorji said. “Because of this, we aren’t even allowed to renovate or repair our houses.”

“Also the demand for more commodities is increasing and this means we have to make shops bigger,” another said.

Dungpa Kunzang Thinley said several discussions were held and it was decided shops would not have to be dismantled until land has been identified.

By Yangchen C Rinzin,  Dorokha

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