Tingtibi fails to see township still; residents want Zhemgang administration to be relocated

Tingtibi in Zhemgang was planned as a bustling town in the 7th Five Year Plan but years down the line, the plans show no sign of fruition.

In fact, the residents of Tingtibi are a frustrated lot because their wetlands have been converted into infrastructural areas without them benefitting in anyway.

“I had 3 acres and 70 decimals of wet land; I used to sell the rice cultivated on it,” said Jamtshola.

But today he does not earn any profit from selling vegetables which he grows on a small plot of land or from the grocery shop he runs.

Another resident, Kezang said that she would like to get back her agricultural land if the plot holders are not going to construct any houses. “As per the agreement they should construct houses within two years after the plot allotment,” said a businessman, Kinley wangdi.

The owner of a two-storied building, Aum Kezang, said that people are already at loss as they hardly get profit from renting out apartments.

“On top of that we have to pay taxes similar to other commercial towns though it’s deprived of all the urban facilities,” she said, “I would prefer to have my land back since I cannot see any development in it.”

People in Tingtibi have hopes that after the 670 MW Mangdechhu hydropower project comes up next year, the so-called town would transform into a real town.

However, a businesswoman, Kezang feels that Rindhibi would benefit more if the hydropower project turns out to be successful since compared to Rindhibi, Tingitbi is around 50 km from the project where people might not like to set their offices and apartments.

Another disappointment for Tingtibi business people was the completion of the Tingtibi-Wangdigang bypass in Zhemgang which was their ultimate hope but it too failed in making Tingtibi a town.

Currently, there are around seven buildings and a few shops scattered over more than 300 acres of plain area on the banks of the Mangdechhu.

Plot owners in the town are also reluctant to build houses as they see no immediate scope for business.

A few who wanted to build houses in Tingtibi dropped their plans. This was after learning that it was unlikely that the Zhemgang town and dzongkhag administration would be relocated to Tingtibi.

Those who desired to construct a house in Tingtibi failed to get a single plot while some others staying in Zhemgang had two plots but unfortunately they were unwilling to construct houses.

“Some of them have been requesting for a plot for the last two years but there was always a delay,” said Dorji Wangchuk, a Zhemgang resident.

However, Zhemgang Dzongda Karma Drukpa stated that plots were allotted to those who owned land and to people holding business licenses.

He added that people were not willing to construct houses in Tingtibi; instead they were constructing houses near the Zhemgang Dzong.

Today there are 31 vacant plots in the Tingtibi though 82 plots were allotted for commercial purposes and 14 as residential areas.The satellite town, despite having all the municipal facilities funded by World Bank in the year 2002, fails to qualify as a town.

The Trong Gup said that if the town is properly established, losses will not be incurred since there is the Yebilaptsa Hospital, two schools, Department of Road sub-division office , a gewog office and the upcoming hydropower project.

But people want to shift Zhemgang dzongkhag administration to Tingtibi as they feel it is more feasible that way for the satellite town to survive.

Jamtshola said that shifting the administration would not affect the Zhemgang residents since business in the town was mostly dependent on the local residents.

But, the Zhemgang Dzongda maintained that that there would be development in Tingtibi since it lies on the main south-east highway.

“The number of applicants for land lease and their desire to construct houses shows that there would be a successful town,” he added.

Earlier, the dzongkhag office could not be shifted to Tingtibi since the population was limited and there was a dearth of projects.

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