Thinley Namgay   

Former Norgaygang Gup Rinchen Dorji, Mangmi Golay, Joenpang-Lingarnang Chiwog Tshogpa Karchung have appealed to the Samtse dzongkhag court regarding illegal construction of Chugu farm road in Joenpang-Lingarnang chiwog in 2020.

The trio appealed on March 7 stating that they were not satisfied with the judgment of the Tashichhoeling drungkhag court.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) on October 11 last year appealed to the Tashichhoeling drungkhag court against Rinchen Dorji, Golay, Karchung, Gewog Administrative Officer Yeshi Rangdol, and Gewog Engineer Aiman Limbu.

OAG said that these officials should be held accountable for constructing farm road illegally. The OAG stated that they have to reinstate the cost incurred by the government for road construction and for damaging natural resources.

The OAG charged Rinchen Dorji on the grounds of lack of environmental clearance certificate, encroachment of government land, official misconduct, breaching public security and tranquillity, and malicious mischief.

Golay and Karchung were charged for accomplice liability for malicious mischief and beaching public security and tranquillity. Yeshi Rangdol and Aiman Limbu were charged with failure to report the crime.

Drungkhag court passed the judgment on February 16.

The court sentenced Rinchen Dorji to two years and six months to prison with the penalty of Nu 536,602. Golay and Karchung were sentenced to one year and three months with the fine of Nu 134,150 each. However, the prison terms were compoundable.

The court also ordered Yeshi Rangdol and Aiman Limbu to pay a fine of Nu 3,750 each.

Norgaygang gewog constructed the 1.53kms Chugu farm road despite not having dzongkhag’s approval. The construction was not approved based on security reasons, as the road was close to the border area.

Although the dzongkhag had written to the gewog several times seeking justifications, there was no response.

On June 15, 2020, the Samtse dzongkhag administration wrote to the gewog seeking justification. On December 8, 2020, the dzongkhag imposed on Norgaygang gewog a penalty of Nu 33,000, which was not paid. Then on January 8, 2021, the dzongkhag administration again sent an email reminder to the gewog.

Without any response, the gewog administration was asked to furnish justification by January 28, 2021 without fail.

However, on January 26, 2021, Norgaygang gewog administration had written to the dzongkhag highlighting the approval of Joenpang farm road that was accorded by the dzongkhag. According to the dzongkhag administration, the gewog failed to mention the Chugu farm road construction.

Subsequently, in March 2021, the dzongkhag administration submitted a detailed report of the issue to the Department of Law and Order (DLO).

In the report submitted to the DLO, the Samtse dzongkhag administration highlighted that it wrote to the gewog on November 4, 2019, and mentioned postponement of the construction of 1.53kms Chugu farm road based on ‘security ground’ and its proximity to the border.