Rajesh Rai | Lhamoizingkha
For many people who have visited Lhamoidzingkha town in the past, it is like going back in time seeing the small town today.
The Lhamoidzingkha town has not changed in decades. The same small wooden shops lining the road are aging and decaying. It looks like an empty town waiting for the train to suddenly burst into life.
A survey and mapping for a township was completed a few years ago, but the plot owners are not yet ready to construct. There are 51 plot owners in the town. However, each plot measures about 500 square feet (about 1.14 decimals), too small to construct a new house.
The town’s residents want a better town with the town seeing some economic opportunities. There is a bypass between Thimphu and Samdrupjongkhar that passes through Lhamoidzingkha. The Raidak-Manitar highway reduces travel time by about two hours. The residents are seeing more travelers.
Discussion of a better town always gets people talking. One plot owner, Yeshey Dorji said there were two options to get the township going.
“There is a plot at Farmgaon identified in the first elected government’s time,” he said, adding that identified area has more than 1,000 acres of suitable land and there were no issues with the forest clearance. “The government could look into this,” he said.
Yeshey Dorji said the other option was to provide plot owners additional government land to enable plot owners construct houses. This would work better, he said explaining the total land size of the entire town that falls under the current mapping was extensive and providing extra land on lease within the town was feasible.
In the current town, Yeshey Dorji said it would be difficult to construct a sizeable house. Future expansion would also be problematic, he added.
Another plot owner, Krishna Bdr Gurung, 59, shared similar concerns. “There were also talks to dismantle the existing town so that new town could be constructed,” he said, adding it would be difficult for many residents in doing so.
Should the existing town be dismantled, Krishna Bahadur Gurung said a temporary town would have to be constructed first with water and electricity facilities. Some would not have enough capital to even dismantle their current houses.
A businessman, KB Chhetri, 72, said the land identified at Farmgaon would be most suitable for a town.
“Lhamoidzingkha town has not changed since 60s,” he said.
The plot owners are also concerned that their new buildings would decrease in size if they constructed on 500 square feet plot as some of them have houses in more than 500 square feet. Even if they go with the new planning and plot size, the town would look odd with little room for improvement in the future, they said.
Meanwhile, the plot owners are also planning to seek help from the government. They are writing a letter to the Prime Minister to explain the situation so that it is solved for the betterment of the town.
Lhamoidzingkha drungkhag in Dagana has three gewogs—Lhamoidzingkha, Karmaling and Nichula. Although the town has seen little progress, people are optimistic about the opportunity the town would have after the completion of the Dagapela highway. Lhamoizginkha residents feel their town would be a centre with three major highways connected and bring about economic benefits.
One resident said Lhamoidzingkha has a huge potential for tourism as it shares border with the Indian town of Kulkuley.
“Sometime people from across the border ask direction to Lhamoidzingkha town after reaching our town,” she said. “They get surprised to discover our town.”