Land: There is a Zangtopelri in Samdrupjongkhar that needs some real attention, but there is a dispute as well over the property between the thromde and a private individual.

This Zangtopelri stands on the right side of the road towards the district hospital in Samdrupjongkhar.  It has suffered from disrepair.  Walls are coming off, statues inside are broken, and the prayer wheels are coming off the hinges.

People have raised the issue and asked authorities concerned to repair the place and save the nangtens (sacred relics) that it contains.

But the renovation can take place after the dispute is resolved between the two parties.  The issue of whether the land belongs to the thromde or Thinley Dorji has to be settled.  The disputed ownership has been discussed several times in many thromde tshogdes.

However, thrompon Karma Sherab Thobgyal said an investigation report was sent to the National Land Commission, claiming that the 44,000sqft land, which, Thinley Dorji claims, belongs to him, actually belongs to the government.  The commission has not responded yet.

The thrompon said that, as per the documents, Thinley Dorji was asked to supervise the construction work, but it is not clear how he got the land.

“If the land commission says the land belongs to Thinley Dorji, then the responsibility to take care of the Zangtopelri will fall on him,” said the thrompon.

Thinley Dorji said that the land and the Zangtopelri belonged to him, which was why he had been paying land tax of at least Nu 16,000 every year to the thromde.

“The problem of ownership was never there until the thromde was formed,” said Thinley Dorji. “If the Zangtopelri was built through public contribution, why should I be still repaying loan for Nu 5 million?”

By Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar