In the recent years, Bhutan has witnessed a construction boom with buildings sprouting everywhere. And the integral component of every construction is the timber. This has resulted in acute shortage of timber resources in the Country. This is no joke going by the figure that there is currently a gap of 1.84 million cft of timber supply and demand.
The shortage is further vindicated during the timber allotment done by Natural Resources Development Corporation (NRDCL) for the month of May 2011. The hall was jam-packed with 92 bidders from across the Country who includes saw-millers, proprietors of furniture house and other wood-based industries, from as far as extreme east. Everyone was vying for the small pie from the 95,676.81 cft of timbers for allotment.
"Everyone was vying for the small pie from the 95,676.81 cft of timbers for allotment"
The conference room represented sort of fish market with every people trying to bulldoze their message across in their conversation. The problem is further aggravated with some playing clip songs from their cell through the table mike. But it is also the same mike that helped the announcer to amplify his call for the bidders to come and pick their lucky dip. Few choose to exit outside and consult their proprietors, managers or whoever may be on the other side of the phone about the possibility of not getting any timbers from the current allotment.
"Oblivious of such things, the allotment programme kept on progressing often paused by the bidders who came forward with every nitty-gritty of their complain"
“The total timbers on allotment include 4115.75 cft of unsold hardwood timber lying idle in one of the division of NRDCL” said one of the official present. So, is the timber shortage real? Or is the shortage confined to quality and the preferred species?
Mr. Tashi Wangchuk of Lhamo Sawmill in Gelephu expressed his helplessness by saying that they get only 700-800 cft of timbers from each allotment. He further pointed out, “we need atleast 3000 cft of timbers to keep our machines running for whole month. From the current amount of timbers we get, it last for only few weeks and we have to remain idle for the rest of the days until next allotment. This entails loss for our business”.
During the recent Community Forest (CF) seminar held at Bumthang, the possibility of timber supply from CF was deliberated. If such proposal comes through, it will provide big respite for consumers. For an interim, they’ve to keep juggling for whatever is available.