Tshering Palden

Launching a massive land reform in the country, His Majesty signed the historic royal kashos granting land kidu to 1,500 thram holders in two gewogs under Lhuentse this week.

Over 1,500 people, including kidu recipients, joyfully witnessed the kasho signing, granting land kidu to 602 thram holders, of whom 391 were in Thimyul, Gangzur gewog yesterday.

The first kasho was signed on March 11, corresponding with the auspicious 15th day of the first month in the Bhutanese calendar in Tshenkhar. It was signed after His Majesty reviewed the cadastral resurvey report together with the people of the gewog. This was followed up by His Majesty’s personal visits to remote villages, from where people were not able to attend the gathering. His Majesty visited individual households and assessed the issues on the ground.

Speaking to the people His Majesty said, “We must do everything to ensure that our limited arable land is of greatest benefit to the people and their children. Land must bring social, economic, and political strength to the people. It must give them a stake in the building of a strong nation and a vibrant democracy. It must help build strong citizens because strong citizens mean a strong Bhutan.”

Throughout His Majesty’s interactions with the people, there was the presence of the deepest commitment to making the people self-sufficient and ensuring a comfortable life.

“My heart aches to learn that some parents are facing immense difficulties in sending their children to school. Use your land to educate your children, to nurture them, and to build prosperous lives and a bright future for yourselves.”

Norzin Lhamo, a single mother from Kilu, a subsistence farmer benefitted from the use of excess land in feeding and looking after her seven children. She had in her thram officially only 20 decimals of dry land. “This kidu means more than anything to me and my children. It’s a true blessing. My family can now live in peace.”

“With land kidu, we see the fulfillment of His promise made to the people during the 86th national assembly in such a short time,” said the Gangzur gup, Kunzang Dorji.

“The fact that His Majesty considers land kidu discussions as important as the consultations on the Constitution speaks volumes about His concerns for the common people and of the role we have to play in building a strong democracy. We have to become capable citizens so we can participate well in democracy,” said Chimmila, an ex-local leader, who came to offer thridhar.

Ap Tashi Tobgay, 41, a father of four, said that paying the cost of the excess land was beyond his means had it not been for His Majesty’s benevolence and concern. “I’m already having difficulty in raising my children, how could I pay the cost that the officials are asking for? I’m very grateful to his Majesty and I’ve no words to thank him. I’ll serve him and his generations of Kings.”

The land commission said that all land kidu cases are reviewed individually and the kidu granted will be different in different places, depending on the circumstances in each dzongkhag or gewog.

The national cadastral resurvey was initiated in 2007 upon royal command and began implementation in June 2008. Lhuentse was the first dzongkhag to be completed. The exercise was jointly carried out by the census department, land commission, departments of forestry and agriculture with the office of the Gyalpoi Zimpon.

Over 2,000 acres of land were granted as kidu to the people in the two gewogs, exempting them from payments of over Nu 21 million.