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.
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