Three months after the issue was raised, there is no decision of who will develop the multi-modal transport hub in Gelephu.
Gelephu Thromde officials said that they have handed over the 55.35-acre area earmarked as transport hub in its structural plan to the regional Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) on July 24.
Thrompon Tikaram Kafley said the thromde’s job was to identify and approve the area. “We have done our part and have already handed over the area to RSTA,” he said.
He said that there are misconceptions that the thromde should develop all the infrastructures and facilities including the services at the multi-modal transport hub. “While we would like to do that, we cannot because of budget constraints,” he said. “Also we do not know the actual needs at the facility which is why we feel that RSTA should take the lead role.”
As per the multi-modal transport hub blueprint, the area will accommodate city-bus centre, bus terminal, driving practice area, the regional RSTA office, traffic station and multiple parking spaces among others.
The thrompon added that in Thimphu, RSTA with support from the ministry came up with the bus terminal. “Similar thing should happen in Gelephu as well. Once completed, thromde can help with beautification works and further developments if there are any as it would be one of the assets of the throm.”
RSTA’s chief road transport officer in Gelephu, Sonam Chophel, said his office had proposed for budget to carry out initial developmental activities at the location after it was approved by the thromde.
“The proposal was shot down because we were told that all capital works would be carried out by the local government in their respective areas,” he said. “We were told that the land development including the construction of infrastructures at the transport hub would be done by thromde.”
Thromde officials said that they have verified with the Gross National Commission Secretariat (GNHC) that the concerned department should execute the work.
Even the right over the area is in question. While thromde claims to have handed over the demarcated land to RSTA, the regional office denies of receiving anything formally.
Meanwhile, once the multi-modal transport hub is completed, the existing bus terminal in the centre of the town and the truck parking near the vegetable market are expected to be relocated.
Officials said that with the bus terminal shifted, most of the taxies would also relocate at the transport hub.
Sonam Chophel said that parking is a major issue in Gelephu. And the arrival of multiple trucks following the boulder export business, the issue has aggravated over the past few months.
However, the thrompon said the pressure has decreased after the boulder business came to a standstill. “The number of trucks plying along the thromde roads have reduced,” he said. “People have not come to us complaining about parking space lately.”
The multi-modal transport hub is located on the left side of the Gelephu-Sarpang highway near the Army Welfare Project Ltd office.
Younten Tshedup | Gelephu