Just as farmers of Umling were celebrating the news of electric fencing coming to the locality and poles were being erected, there was objection from across the border and work has stopped.

About five-kilometre electric fencing was planned to protect crops from elephant and other wild animals. But since Rijoog village share border with Assam, construction was withheld.

The issue was raised during the third dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) recently. Umling gup Ugyen Norbu said that there is private land near the Indian border, close to a border pillar. Despite owning private land, the security forces from across the border restricted to construct electric fencing stating that there is a standing rule that requires keeping at least 10-meter gap on either side of the pillar.

“Following that, all the erected poles were removed and could not continue with the works,” he said. He said that later a survey team visited the gewog but could not find the presence of pillar on the map. Then the dzongkhag forwarded the issue to the National Land Commission (NLC) informing about the non-clarity of presence of border pillar.

During the DT, dzongkhag land record officials said that while it is mandatory to maintain 10-metre distance from an international border, restriction of construction of electric fencing on private land has been forwarded to the NLC.

“The dzongkhag will be informed as soon as we receive response from the commission,” the official said.

DT has directed the dzongkhag land record section to meet with Umling gewog administration to discuss about private land near the border.  A report of detailed survey is expected to submit to the land commission.

Gup Ugyen Norbu said that it was during the 2012 cadastral survey that the private land was surveyed from near the border pillar without maintaining 10-metre barren space.

Umling gewog has a total of about 14km electric fencing.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang