Photo courtesy: Jareyp Sonam Tobgyel

Pemagatshel Dzong will be moved to Denchi by end of 2020

After a delay by two years, Pemagatshel Dzong will be moved to Denchi by end of 2020. The plan was to complete the construction of dzong by 2018, however, due to redesigning works and issues with a few structures, the completion date was missed.

As of now, 97 percent of the work on the dzong is completed. Administrative blocks and the court are complete. By June 2020 the Pemagatshel Dzong in Denchi Thromde will be handed over to the dzongkhag.

There are around 170 structures constructed in the area and people of Denchi, Khotakpa, Khar and Botori under Chongshing gewog stand to benefit from the dzong. Pemagatshel Hospital and Pemagatshel Middle Secondary School will function, as it is, in their old locations. Khar Primary School will be upgraded to a middle secondary level.

Dzongkhag architect, Tenzin Rabgay, said that all the infrastructure development is completed. The municipal access road from secondary national highway road to the new Denchi Throm, internal road construction, water has been connected to a reservoir tank from the source and temporary water distribution to facilitate all the plot owners are done.

However, he said, “Blacktopping of internal roads will be done after the completion of all the structure construction in the area, and after connecting all the sewer line. We do not want to spend extra money by digging up holes after blacktopping later.” Construction of sewage treatment plant is included in 12th FYP, he added.

Out of 27 commercial plots, 16 drawings have been approved by the dzongkhag, and 9 constructions are underway with the rest to follow soon.

There were efforts made to push plot owners from before for the construction, but there was a resistance from them saying that if the dzong remains at old station (current location) at the end, they will not have tenants after constructing houses in Denchi, he said.

He also said that, “They wanted their buildings to be three-storied structure so that they can have more number of tenants. The dzongkhag, in the past, decided to keep it as two-storied but after series of discussions with MoWHS, they were allowed to construct three-storied.”

After the completion, dzong administration will be moved down to Denchi, however, everyone may not move down immediately due to the lack of housing. “We may have to wait for the completion of the construction of houses, and in the meantime, we may have to commute from Pemagatshel to Denchi, which is around 15 km  (short route),” he said.

This is just a temporary issue, he said, adding that even today the residents have to travel to Denchi for fueling up their cars frequently. Nonetheless, he said that the people have the option to rent houses in nearby places in Denchi.

People who have plots in Denchi will have to vacate their current houses and location, as they will have no longer ownership of the houses. 20 percent of the people did not get plots in Denchi as they did not qualify on some criteria, he said.

Pemagatshel Dzongda, Phuntsho, shared that as soon as the dzong is completed, they will have to move to Denchi, and simultaneously encourage the shop owners, particularly the landowners at Denchi, to construct their structures fast.

“97 percent of the construction is completed, and hoping that by end of 2020, we can move down to Denchi. We are also pushing the plot owners by conducting various meetings with them,” the Dzongda added.

He also said that occupancy in Pemagatshel town falls on government land, and thereby, they cannot stay there throughout.

Meanwhile, he said that they have certain plans to use the Pemagatshel Dzong and the area around for some purpose in future. He said, “We had discussions with Lam Neten on converting the current Dzong into a large Shedra, like any other Shedras in Bhutan. This Shedra will not only cater to people from Pemagatshel, but also from all the nearby dzongkhags.”

New Dzong in Denchi has a separate wing for Dratshang, whereby monks graduating from Shedra can come down to Denchi Dratshang, and from there they can decide where they want to go after completing their studies.

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