Genuine Changjiji residents can stay worry free as NHDCL nullifies rent agreement

NHDCL to build 1,018 units of green resilient and affordable housing

The National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL) CEO said, they have already responded to the government on the directives over Chanjiji. “We are going to nullify the 10 years agreement. On the other hand, what we will be doing is, if any tenants own a property within Thimphu, they will have to vacate, irrespective of the 10-year agreement completion. They need to understand that somebody more deserving than them is waiting in the list.”

He shared that the tenancy agreement depends on the government’s directives, and according to it, for the tenants of Changjiji, the occupancy period of ten years is no longer relevant for them.

He mentioned that until now, the allotment done are all based on grades.

He said, “Once our system is updated, we have close to 2000 applications still waiting. So those applicants need to update their details. As civil servants, we can fetch the details from the system, but it is difficult to update the details of the spouse. So, we are updating their spouse details and we are expecting that to be done by the next one month. After that, the allotment will be strictly based on the income, mostly prioritizing the low-income groups.”

There was a study done by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport in 2021, with the support from ADB regarding the housing burden. The study revealed that as much as 50 percent of a private sector employee’s monthly salary is spent on rent.

He shared that those staying in government quarters are not even paying 15-20 percent of their salary on rent expenses.

The Changjiji housing colony was built more than 20 years ago in three phases. During the first phase, 10 buildings were completed in 2002, the second phase of construction was carried out in 2004 and the last phase was in 2005.

As for the building maintenance, it is a continuous process based on the type of repairs that is required. Emergency ones are taken up immediately, and the major maintenance works are planned and carried out in a phase wise manner. 

The CEO said, “When the new tenants get their apartments, we hand it over to them with all the inventories, which upon damage, they will have to either replace or repair. However, major maintenance, like damaged windows and leakage, we will have to do. There are instances where the tenants move out after staying for a longer duration, obviously we cannot ask the tenants to repair, but they will have to do small fixtures repair.”

“If we look at the request that is coming to NHDCL, requesting for government quarters, basically from low-income earners, the fact that there are 2,000 applicants still waiting to get the government quarters, is in itself, an indication that there is a supply gap in the low-income group. Because whatever supply, we see in the market, are mostly for middle- and high-income groups. Nowadays, the rent is no less than Nu 13- 14,000 which further increases in the core areas.  The government quarters with 2-bedroom apartments are about Nu 6-7000 only. So, we can get the sense of shortages there, especially in terms of low income groups.”

The NHDCL has an ongoing “green resilient and affordable housing sector project” where 1,018 units are to be built with funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

CEO Rinchen Wangdi, said that the project is different from any other projects done in the past, and that they are bringing in new technology, all related to energy saving.

He said, “There are lots of green components, like rain water harvesting, solar rooftop, and even the interior designs will be energy saving. These housing will be constructed over a period of five years.”

“We have already started the project plans from 2022, and the projects are ongoing on the east. One site in Trashiyangtse, two sites in Samdrupjongkhar and another one site in Nganglam. This year if everything goes well, we will start the project in Phuentsholing and Thimphu, the two remaining sites,” he added.

From the 1,018 units, Thimphu will only have about 100 units meant for the lowest income group.

Since the housing units are for low-income groups, it would not have any impacts on the private owners since the private owners are mostly perceived not constructing affordable housing for these groups but rather, for the middle- and high-income groups for return of investments.

He mentioned that throughout the nation, NHDCL had constructed 2,436 units including 1,092 units in Thimphu.

He shared that although the housing is mostly available for civil servants, however, there are proposals for private and corporate employees. But the challenge is that the government housing is very limited. Despite that NHDCL will soon make the units available once the occupied ones get vacant.

As of now, in Thimphu, the quarters are available only for civil servants.

“Though 1,018 units is the target, but achieving the target will depend on several factors. The first one being construction costs. The project approval was done in 2021 and now we are in 2024 so inflation and all needs to be considered. So, with all these conditions, we may or may not be able to achieve the 1,018 units, but it is our target, as of now.”

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One comment

  1. Ambika Devi Neopaney

    Apply for the NHDCL apparment.

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