The minister for works and human settlement, Lyonpo Dorji Choden said that the government is working in different ways to not only ensure that a couple of cities like Thimphu and Phuentsholing are not overcrowded but also ensure balanced regional development.
On moving certain government institutions out of Thimphu the minister said that the government had stopped the construction of many new government offices especially on this ground.
She said that the government wanted to see if some of the offices can be accommodated outside Thimphu.
However, the minister said that moving an agency out would be a very complex decision and the implications on other agencies and public service would have to be properly studied.
The minister said that urbanization is inevitable and this is the fact the world over with cities growing rapidly along with vehicles and this was also the case with Thimphu in Bhutan.
She said the solution to this issue cannot be one and the problem would need to be looked at from several angles.
Lyonpo said that from the planning side they are looking at nearby areas beyond Thimphu for an expanding population without damaging and degrading the environment.
She said that a study is being done for a comprehensive developmental plan spearheaded by Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) with the National Land Commission and MoWHS as key stakeholders. She said that the study looked not only at Thimphu but was a nationwide study.
Lyonpo said that with Thimphu growing there are nearby areas like Paro and the Punakha and Wangdi valleys as extended areas. She said that as long as there is good communication and people can commute well then people would also settle in these extended areas.
Lyonpo pointed out that the other important factor was balanced regional development for which the current government was working seriously. She said a big impact would be made by the widening of the East-West highway which would ease transportation and this would mean people would settle elsewhere too. She also talked about domestic airlines flights to central, eastern and southern Bhutan.
Lyonpo said that the upcoming Industrial Estates in central, eastern and southern Bhutan would bring a lot of opportunities and development would take place resulting in new growth centers.
The minister said that several improvements and investments in the agriculture sector would help people to stay on the farms.
She said that central schools would also lead to growth centers all across the country. The minister also pointed out at the government’s initiative to spread tourism across the country.