The present town of Gasa is just in name. With a handful of temporary houses constructed on state land, the town is a far cry from what a town is. In order to have a proper town, the district started the developmental work in 2020 as approved by the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement. However, extreme climatic conditions and manpower shortages delayed the work progress by several months. As it is, the district expects to get the groundwork complete only by the end of this year.
Spread over 74 acres of land, the new Gasa town is being developed at Kolikha, just 500 metres from the Dzong. Most of the major works like internal roadways, storm drainage and retaining walls have been completed. But the road will be blacktopped only after completing the house constructions in the area to avoid road damage. Likewise, power supply works are also underway.
Supposed to complete by April this year, the progress of the town development work was hampered by the severe climatic conditions and shortage of skilled manpower and construction materials. The project started in 2020 is now extended by six more months.
“Gasa receives incessant rainfall during the monsoon and very heavy snowfall during the winter. So, we have a very narrow window for work and that is about only six months period where we can work properly,” said Jigme Choden, the Project Engineer in Gasa.
“We have completed 85 per cent of the work. However, we will be taking some time to complete the sewerage network since our construction materials have to come from Kolkata. It is taking time to transport here. Likewise, rainfalls are extremely hampering our work progress. It is difficult to retain the workers due to the weather condition here,” added Ram Bdr. Adhikari, the Site Supervisor of TT Construction.
The dzongkhag administration met with the shopkeepers of the old Gasa town recently. The shopkeepers were updated on the construction progress and the regulations in the new town. There are about 30 land kidu recipients who will shift to the new town.
“The first phase of work is nearing completion. So, if the remaining work progressed as planned, the land owners can begin their construction by the end of this year,” the project engineer said.
The residents meanwhile are worried about the delayed developmental work. According to them, the temporary town with makeshift houses has no hygiene or safety. The officiating Thromde Ngotshab says the shopkeepers would be able to get ready for their house construction only after getting approval from the dzongkhag administration. The issue was also discussed in the recent Dzongkhag Tshogdu.
“Firstly, it is quite challenging in maintaining health and hygiene as our houses are all makeshift structures and situated in clusters. Secondly, there is a high risk of fire hazard as all the houses are made up of wood,” said Chador Tshering, the Offtg Thromde Ngotshab of Gasa.
The new town has fifty-nine plots along with five parking areas and a children’s park. Once complete, the new town will be a feast for the eyes with the scenic view of the majestic Gasa Tashi Thongmoen Dzong and surrounded by snow-capped mountains in the winter.
Changa Dorji, Gasa
Edited by Sonam