During the Friday question hour in the parliament, member from Dewathang Gomdar questioned the minister of economic affairs, lyonpo Loknath Sharma on the low occupancy of the industrial parks.
“The DPT government identified and developed a number of industrial areas in east, south and central Bhutan and all political parties promised to promote balanced regional development. However, due to minimal interest from entrepreneurs, these industrial areas remained largely unused and unoccupied, but on the other hand it has been learnt that recent enquiry to set up an industry at Motanga was met with the answer that the area fully occupied. So, if the minister could clarify as to how and when the area has been filled up when there are just two factories in the area,” questioned MP Ugyen Dorji.
Motanga Industrial Park is in located in Samdrupjongkhar with an area of 156 acres. It is the only park that is fully funded by Bhutanese government. During the 11th FYP, a total budget of Nu 100 mn was allotted for the park.
To this, the economic minister responded that industrial development has been critical in diversification of the economy, job creation, export enhancement and revenue generation. “Therefore, efforts are made to develop industries in a cluster approach in order to derive the benefits from the close geographical proximity amongst industries based on establishing value chains and the government will work to operationalize all the four industrial parks.”
Lyonpo Loknath Sharma clarified that the existing two industries which are in operation were existent even before Motanga has been identified as an industrial park.
He said that as per the master plan of Motanga Industrial Park, the area is divided into three zones of industries- mineral and chemical based, forest and wood based, and food and agro based. However, the food and agro based industry zone is further divided into two zones- food and agro based and services and other industries. The reason for creating additional zone is to allow services industries and other industries which are not accommodated in the other three zones.
“As per the master plan, a total area of 27.11 acres has been earmarked for mineral and chemical based industry and currently, the whole area has been allotted to 14 promoters, which is the exact space earmarked for mineral and chemical industry. The land allotment orders to these promoters have been issued and some have already obtained their industry licenses, while some are in the process of seeking environmental clearances,” said lyonpo Loknath Sharma- construing that the grievances submitted by some of the prospects over land allotment might be in regard to the allotment for mineral and chemical industry which has already been occupied.
The economic minister, however, said that since some of the prospects who’ve been allotted the space on provisional period are still seeking necessary clearances and project approvals from relevant agencies, and failure to which will result in the termination of the space allotment, there might still be opportunity for those who’re interested.
When another member raised that instead of keeping other zones vacant, it would be wise if the government can allot the space to those prospects who wish to establish mineral and chemical industry. Lyonpo Loknath responded that if the government allots the vacant spaces near food and agro based industries for establishment of chemical and mineral based industry, it might violate the food safety standard which is hazardous. “However, we will explore other possible measures and carry out a study.”
The country’s four upcoming major industrial parks- Jigmeling Industrial Park in Sarpang, Dhamdum Industrial Park in Samtse, Motanga Industrial Park in Samdrupjongkhar, and Bondeyma Industrial Park in Monggar are all expected to be complete within the 12th FYP, whereby the investors will develop and invest in business ventures once the plot allocations are made.