The settlers will have to vacate once the new township comes up

Settlement: An inspection by the Pemagatshel dzongkhag land record office found that 80 houses in Nganglam dungkhag were illegally constructed on government land.

Constructed decades ago, the structures today stand as grocery, general shops and bars, and as residence. The houses are located in Nganglam town and Tsengkari, a small market near Dungsam Cement Corporation Ltd.

Although the issue was discussed several times at the dzongkhag tshogdu (DT), the members could not come to a consensus on a solution. The issue was again raised at the recent DT wherein the land record officer asked members to decide upon what should be done to address the issue.

Land record officer Wangdi said that during the inspection, they found that people residing in these settlements were running small shops for a living while some have rented houses there so that their children could attend school.

“The settlements are prone to fire hazards and other disasters as it’s located next to river kerung,” he said. “We should come up with a final decision on what should be done.”

He said that there are no other vacant land where the people from these settlement can move into, as the new Nganglam township is yet to come up.

The DT then decided that the illegal settlers be allowed to stay there until the new township comes up. However, they should vacate the place immediately as soon as land allotment in the new township begins.

Wangdi said that they have also noticed that few owners have constructed extra rooms and rented them out.

“Once land allotment starts there will be a set criteria and only those shopkeepers who are eligible will have to vacate the present land and dismantle the house,” he said.

He also said that people should not have the wrong notion that they can continue to occupy government land. “As there are no other vacant land, it has been relaxed for a while,” he said.

Most settlers said until the new township comes up, they would be occupying the existing area so that they can continue to run their businesses.

The settlers said that if they have to vacate the land then the government should act promptly to start the new township as soon as possible.

According to some elderly people, during the 1970s, late lyonpo Jagar Tamzhing issued a Kasho allotting land to 13 people at the present location to operate shops. This was how the town came into existence. Slowly, over the years, many people moved in after acquiring trade licenses.

Yangchen C Rinzin, Pemagatshel