Thimphu thromde and Tashi Commercial Company (TCC) have one last chance to settle their second legal battle in a mutual agreement outside the court.
The High Court’s larger bench yesterday gave two weeks to the two parties to resolve the issue surrounding the two plots near Lungtenzampa fuel depot which both the parties want to develop for different purposes.
The legitimate owner of the land, TCC, wants to develop it and has challenged the thromde’s narrative that it is planned to make the area a well-planned gateway to the capital city.
Following the court’s order, thromde’s urban planner Ugyen Dorji made a detailed presentation to the court on the thromde’s plans and the documents. He answered questions and submitted clarifications to the court during the two-hour hearing.
Three rounds of discussion were held between the two parties already on the issue. The thromde tabled alternatives for the TCC’s fuel depot, one at Hejo and the other near the Centenary Farmer’s Market and including compensation measures.
Thromde officials said that the proposal was submitted to National Consultative Committee on Human Settlements for approval but nothing materialised.
The TCC turned to court when their proposal to develop the land was turned down.
One of the TCC lawyers said that the thromde has come out with a different plan, which is deviating from and not in line with the mother plan – the approved Thimphu Structural Plan, 2002- 2027.
“When the mother plan itself says the area under dispute is Urban Core, is it possible from them to deviate from the mother document?” the lawyer said.
Thromde officials said that there was no deviation. “The structural plan is an overall plan document which mentions that there is a proposal which would have the details. The details are in the Urban Core Plan,” Ugyen Dorji said. “The two documents are the same and that they have to be read together.”
TCC lawyers said the thromde is being vindictive for having lost the previous case on the plot ownership. Thromde officials said they had tried what they could to serve the best interests of both the thromde and the company.
As they exited the court premises in the evening chill yesterday, lawyers from both parties eagerly launched themselves into a loud discussion to finalise a date for the meeting.
It remains yet to be fixed.