His Majesty The King recently announced the development of Gelephu Mindfulness City Special Administrative Region, a new economic hub in Bhutan. The city is envisioned as an autonomous economic region with executive autonomy and legal independence. It aims to become a distinctive economic center, inviting foreign investment through a favorable business environment and compelling incentives.
The announcement has been welcomed by the people of Gelephu over the economic opportunities that the project will bring, while at the same time there is a lot of curiosity of what will happen on the ground and its impact on them.
Tshering Norbu, Gelephu Thrompon, expressed his excitement about the Gelephu project, emphasizing the community’s joy and anticipation following the historic announcement by His Majesty during the 116th National Day. He highlighted the project’s foundation on His Majesty’s visionary leadership and collaboration with world-class experts, expressing his enthusiasm for its prospects.
He said, “This project will bring in the opportunity to a diverse group of the population, including those in construction, mining, private, and other skilled forces.”
On the frozen land transactions in recent months, the Thrompon expressed optimism about a smooth transition to resuming these transactions within due course of time. He assured the public that detailed information on this matter would be provided in due course, advising everyone to await the official announcement on the resumption of land transactions.
Mon Maya Gurung, a shopkeeper voiced her expectations saying, “There have been very limited people around Gelephu, the local shopkeepers find it hard to survive without a good market and the people are very limited.”
She shared her optimism that the new plan of Gelephu will potentially bring in a very good market and she showed positive enthusiasm and excitement.
Tenzin Dorji, a 42-year-old resident from Gelephu shared, “I am excited about the prospects of Gelephu becoming a city. I want to know more about the new laws which will make Gelephu autonomous, and its impact on us.”
To ensure alignment with Bhutanese culture and values, there will be a rigorous screening process for companies and individuals coming to Gelephu.
A 62-year-old Gelephu resident D.N Chettri expressed enthusiasm for the new developments planned for Gelephu. He is hopeful about the prospect of constructing a quality house, intending to rent it out in expectation of a high number of tenant inflow and also in anticipation of potential increases in land prices after the city planning.
Despite his excitement, D.N Chettri is also a bit uncertain that his land might fall within the airport’s planning boundaries and if it does he is hoping for a compensation rate better than in past projects.
Lok Nath Pokhrel, a 67-year-old resident from Gelephu, said, “I am happy and excited about such positive transformation in our homeland, and I have full trust and prayers for the vision of His Majesty for such a visionary and dynamic plan for the betterment of the people.”
He shared that they have been living in Gelephu for ages, and His Majesty has always been a visionary leader and he believes that this will bring a lot of positive impacts to the people of Gelephu and Bhutan as a whole.
He said, “This project will be a blessing for our youths.” He is very hopeful that this project will discourage people from going abroad and also encourage and be a pull factor for those Bhutanese abroad.
Regarding the land prices, he shared that even before the talk about Gelephu SAR, the land prices were shooting up with the Bhutanese returning from abroad buying lands in Gelephu and the prices were rapidly going high. He said that the new plan for Gelephu will further bring a huge hike in the land prices in Gelephu.
Dorji Tshering, a 31-year-old skilled welder from Gelephu, expressed his perspective on the forthcoming project in the area. Despite having no formal training, he has accumulated five years of experience in welding. Dorji Tshering conveyed his joy and excitement upon learning about the Gelephu project, expressing optimism about its potential to elevate living standards and boost the country’s economy.
He is hopeful about the priority to be given to Bhutanese citizens for job opportunities, anticipating increased employment prospects. He is confident in his ability to contribute to Gelephu’s promising future.
Gelephu, like many parts of Bhutan, has grappled with economic hardships in recent times. With the limited market as limited people seen in the town and several commercial areas being vacant for months. The residents hope that the future city will not only provide employment opportunities but also attract investments that can stimulate the nation’s economy.