Tax: More than 40 people of extended area of Dewathang town in Samdrupjongkhar thromde still have not yet collected their lagthram (land ownership) because many could not clear urban land tax for last three years.

Good news is that the landowners will now be able to collect the lagthram because during the recent thromde’s mid-term review, the Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay announced that until the urban facilities have reached the area, no urban land tax will be levied.

During the Prime Minister’s visit to the dzongkhag, Thrompon Karma Sherab Thobgyal requested the Prime Minister that it would be a relief for the people in the extended town area because most of them are still dependent on agriculture.

Thrompon said that the landowners have to pay 50 percent of the existing land tax in Dewathang. The extended area was demarcated as part of thromde.

“They were paying the rural tax, and later when it was declared as thromde, they had to pay urban tax. But they couldn’t pay when they were asked to pay tax for three years (2012-2014) together,” said Karma Sherab Thobgyal.

Of the 193 lagthrams, 44 have not been collected according to the Thromde’s record. The resident are levied Nu125 urban land tax against Nu 12 per acre rural tax.

Responding to the issue, Prime minister said that this was discussed and the decision came from the cabinet that places without urban facilities would not be levied urban tax and that this is not only in Samdrupjongkhar or in Dewathang but also in all 20 dzongkhags.

Karma Sherab Thobgyal said the office is still waiting for the official letter from the government. “We were concerned because tax was high and people have been raising this issue for a very long time.”

Karma Sherab Thobgyal added the local area plan for the extended area is still under the process and once completed landowners will receive facilities like road, water supply and proper drainage systems among others.

But the decision will not apply to the residents of Dewathang core area.

Yangchen C Rinzin |  Samdrupjongkhar