Housing loan suspended, 33 people file petition

Thirty-three people whose housing loans were suspended by financial institutions following directives from the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) have filed a petition to the central bank.

This situation arose in the aftermath of the rupee crisis.

However, the Thimphu Thromde (TCC) has approved the construction of the petitioners’ houses but their loans were stalled because RMA stated that only those whose drawings had been approved by TCC before 8 March could avail the loans.

The 33 individuals whose housing loans were suspended acquired their approval only after 8 March.

Most of the applicants said they had submitted their drawings more than four months back. The actual time needed for an individual drawing to be approved is 21 to 90 days but they said TCC did not contact them within the period.

The Thimphu Thrompon explained that TCC is short of architects and it has put up a proposal with the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) to recruit more architects on contract since the architects who were with the corporation left to pursue higher studies or moved into other fields.

Right now, TCC has just one lone architect.

Asked by The Bhutanese  about the issue, the Thrompon said, “We couldn’t do anything since we are short of architects and those we have can’t  manage everything.”

TCC officials said that the applications for construction of houses have tripled in the last two years and the service standard guideline clearly states that an architect will be able to approve only one drawing or construction project in a week.

But among the people who filed the petition are some who have sold their land in order to proceed with the constructions and those who have already acquired sand and most of the necessary raw materials.

They said that the resources would go waste if not used on time and that this is the most favorable season for construction.

Almost all of them have invested a huge amount of money, energy, and time in building the designs.

A number of financial institutions The Bhutanese talked to reiterated the RMA’s directives  adding that they will provide loans for the approved applicants only if sanctioned in terms of Ngultrums.

But owing to the lack of heavy industries in Bhutan, most raw materials have to be imported from India and that is where the rupee problem takes over.

Besides, a point in the petition read: “If the notice had reached us in advance, before a year or a half, we would not have planned or proposed such a venture.”

The RMA said a response to the petition will be issued soon.  One of the applicants who applied for the housing construction approval in Babesa said, “Before the housing loan covered 75% of the construction costs but now we believe the financial institutions might bring it down to 50%.”

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