The secretary of National Land Commission (NLC), Pema Chhewang, allotted land to 31 shopkeepers of Tshangchuthang town in Samdrupcholing, Samdrupjongkhar from the new township last week.

Samdrupcholing drungkhag officials said the land was allotted as Kidu according to the Royal Command as the residents had illegally settled on state land without lag-thram (ownership) for many years.

The officials said they have compiled and submitted relevant documents for lag-thram to the NLC and so that the drungkhag office can allow them to construct buildings. They are allowed to build a two storied structure.

A shopkeeper, Kota, said that since he has been running the shop for more than two decades in Tshangchuthang, he was worried about not getting a plot in the new township. “But I am happy and privileged to receive land kidu from the new township,” he said.

Shopkeepers said they have been living in temporary sheds or semi-permanent structures and the disaster in the south in the past years had also left them worried as the Nyera Amari also swells every monsoon.

“We have been hoping for a plot as we have been doing business in Tshangchuthang for more then last 10 years,” a shopkeeper said. “We are happy to receive land as kidu as it’s going to help us and our families.”

Shopkeepers said that they are hoping to get the lag-thrams soon.

Drungkhag officials said that as there are many shopkeepers in Tshangchuthang with lag-thram, they are going to allot the plots as per the government’s order and guidelines.

Officials said that since the existing town is located on a high-risk flood zone of Merak Ama river, popularly known as Nyera Amari and has no extension or development space, the drungkhag administration had identified a new area for the township. The new township is also in Tshangchuthang but has no risk for the flood.

Since the area for the new township was been identified, they have completed the construction of a 250 cubic metre water tank, an internal road and electrification works. Sewerage and drain system will be carried out as per the work and human settlement ministry’s order.

“The bus parking and recreational areas will be developed in the next Plan,” the officials said. There are about 63 plots in about 21 acres but there are more than 63 shopkeepers at Tshangchuthang today.

The township will benefit almost 7,000 people. Samdrupcholing is about 67km from Samdrupjongkhar.

Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar