Knocking on all doors

Sabita Chouhan (Picture courtesy: Bhutan Today)

Sibitra Chowan, a farmer from Goshi gewog in Dagana,has been running from pillar to post “seeking justice,” claimingthat a significant area of the land she received as kidu has now been sold to a civil servant.

Sabita Chouhan (Picture courtesy: Bhutan Today)

In her appeal letters to various authorities, the farmer claims the disputed land measuring 2.8 acres registered under thram number 46(old) under Goshi gewog was received as kidu in 1994. While the National Land Commission (NLC) officials say the land has not been given to anyone, Goshi Gup Prem Dahal told Bhutan TODAY that the disputed land is now registered in the name of a new occupant Jigme Tshewang, who also has the thram.

“I don’t know how the land got transferred in Jigmi Tshewang’s name. As per law, the transaction should have been routed through the local govern- ment here but I never signed any document while giving the thram to the new owner. And now the former Gup says he did not signany document regarding the land.”

The farmer said that when she approached lo- cal authorities in Dagana requesting their help to freeze the construction work, the farmer was told that the disputed land was allotted to a new occupant.

However, the surveyor general and media focal person of NLC Ugen Takchu denied that the disputed land has not been sold to anyone.

When asked how the disputed land got registered in the person’s name Ugen Takchu said: “This is a big question. I wrote a strong letter in the begin- ning to the dzongkhag that the land is under dispute and the case be dealt as per the Land Act. Construc- tion should not be allowed in such a case. The local authorities should take care of this.”

Ugen Takchu said the woman has approached him several times saying somebody was forcibly constructing a house on the land. “She even cried in front of me. The NLC has never given thram to any one on that land. But I don’t know if the dzongkhag has given the land in any resettlement program,” he said.

He also said the com- mission could not do much as she does not have the kasho. “We can’t do much if she lost her kasho,” he said. Ugen- Takchu said that the case looks “genuine” but the outcome of her effort has not been satisfactory.

Sabitra Chowan also said that the local govern- ment has not been trans- parent on the issue. “The land falls in the prime development area of the gewog where Dagapela hospital is located,” she said.

“But now the local authorities in Dagana are saying that the land has been sold to Jigme Tshwang and it has been further fragmented and sold to his friends. I am ready to be jailed if my claims are not genuine but I want justice,” she said.

“I immediately rushed to the dzongkhag stopping the work when the construction started on my landbut they sided with him,” she said. “Now, the new occupant is working on the land during nights. I asked him to show if he had acquired thram for the land but he tried to pull his pants in response,” she alleges.

Sabitra Chowan said that she appealed to His Majesty the King. “Then I had the honor to receive audience with His Majesty. His Majesty granted me gifts in cash kind and told me to continue cultivating the land but problem is that some one has occupied the land and even started constructing a house,” she said.

The farmer appealed to the prime minister through grievance cell after which the construction activities were halted for sometime. The grievance cell forwarded the case to the home and cultural affairs ministry which made an inquiry with the land commission. But she said the outcome has not been reported to the grievance cell. “The land was inherited by my husband from his father but became government land when my husband’s elder brother,

in whose name the thram was migrated from there. So I had to seek kidu from His Majesty for the same land,” she said.

She said the new settler was given land in Bhalaygang village in Goshi. “But after staying there for six years he started con- struction on the disputed land. I don’t know how he got the land from the government,” she said.

She also said that the local authorities were un- able to stop the work on the disputed land as she had lost the document. “The former Dagana dzongda Tashi Gyaltshen advised me to bring thram or some directives in black and white from Thimphu so that he could stop any kind of work on the disputed land but I couldn’t,” she said. “What is happen- ing on my land is not only controversial but beyond belief,” she said.

Courtesy : The Bhutan Today


  1. This is a representative case only. There are many more such victims with lips jammed. This brave lady and her approach should be saluted. Once she has received words from HM, who is there above HM in the kingdom?
    This is, for sure, not a good sign.

  2. Every citizens in Bhutan are trying for GNH and even the Government is advocating in the entire world. United Nations has accepted and very much appreciated Bhutan`s effort to keep every citizens happy. How about this woman? Is she not the part of GNH?

  3. Actually I am sorry for this Woman, I am shamed to sing the mantra of GNH when incidents like these are on the rise here in Bhutan.

    Thanks “Bhutan Today”! You are fighting and working hard to bring the just and truth through the practice of pure Journalism here in the country of GNH. Let us make GNH a real one rather chanting the mantra only!

    Bhutan is for all Bhutanese, not only for bureaucrats of Wangchucks!

  4. thanks to this lady who open the eye to all
    it happen to me and even if you knock the door of court
    it will cost her time and money only, in my case court had force me to prove the evidence of forge signature, when am away from country, when my visa date indicate am away when un faithful family deals comes,so i blame every one
    who are into transaction.

  5. lobsang
    all this manter of gnh is not a reality bite of life but fact is its tool or device to germinate the policy, to see the things in different view, it is important if strong process is made but its totally out of control, as Buddha says life is full of suffering but there is way to reach the enlightenment, or if every individual intellectually understand this value there is no need of this word policy, the word Happy is action word when we use in daily life , it we must be permanent one or temporal happiness, but am still confuse where who will achieve this in full swing

  6. The case of Sabitra Chowan is not an isolated case. There are hunded of voiceless southern Bhutanese silently suffering and deprived of their landed properties left behind by the relatives even as share properties by the bullying Drukpas. Unlike the case of Motikkhar Acharja Ms. Chowan hopefully is not alleged of larceny, fined and imprisoned for approaching the king and the other unmindful officials although victimized. Acharja’s case was taken up by Human Rights Organization of Bhutan (HUROB) a year ago and his detail testimony was published in the BNS. Even wrote to the president , Barack Obama citing the example that how America’s pet Bhutan government is doing to the southern Bhutanese. We kept spurring Acharja to keep on fighting for justice. His father while leaving Bhutan had left 10.5 acres of land at Danabari, Sarbhang district as share property. Similar to Ms Chowan to his surprise, the land was alloted to resettlement Drukpa. Since then he has been running pillar to post for his rightful claim. He aprroached, the king, prime minister, ministers, surveyor general, district court, high court and the supreme court. He was victimized, imprisoned and fined. He did not give up and besides HUROB always stood behind him. As result of untiring effort just last month the district which denied any piece of land agreed to give 5 acres of his land as the other 5 acre was already given to resettlement by the king. Thanks to king Jigme Singye Wangchuk who bestowed unlimited authority to the ministers and civil authorities to do injustice to southern Bhutanese as much as possible. Whosoever, please expose such injustice and sufferings and victimization of southern Bhutanese still living inside Bhutan. Please support Ms Chowan in her fight. This is the only way we help our people.