KP Sharma

The residents of Lingzhi Gewog in Thimphu claim that the Thimphu Thromde is engaged in deporting horses and imposing substantial fines when their horses are found within the city precinct.

Raising the concern, they say that horses are their only means of transport to and from the city. Lack of suitable space for their horses and the heavy penalties, they allege, have further complicated their challenges, making their journey to Thimphu difficult.

Wangdi, Lingshi gup, said: “Thromde expects us to keep our horses in a confined area, which is not possible because we don’t have a sufficient open area to accommodate all the horses.”

According to Wangdi, the space allotted by the thromde at Dangrina in the past was overcrowded and did not have enough fodder and water to meet the needs of the horses confined within the designated area.

It has been learnt that the area previously designated by the thromde for horse stabling has been discontinued, thereby leaving the highland residents without any available area for their horses.

“The issue becomes serious when individuals find themselves with multiple horses trapped in the thromde’s captivity for longer periods, as the fines keep on increasing,” Wangdi said.

The residents further claim that the thromde is relocating their horses to distant locations, extending as far as Wangdue.

Wangdi later clarified that thromde transfers the horses to tshether tshogpa, who then relocates the horses to other remote areas. “We have seen a loss of over 100 horses every year in the past.”

Wangdi said that, often when the owners lose their horses to thromde and return home without horses, it triggers domestic problems and other family issues back home.

Ugyen, Taba-Dechencholing thuemi, acknowledged the problem faced by the highlanders. He said that despite efforts to address the issue, the thromde has been unable to identify an alternative location to keep the horses.

Ugyen said that the thromde imposes a fine of Nu 1,500 for each horse in captivity for more than a day. “Fines are imposed because the thromde has to pay the caretakers and spend on purchasing fodder for the horses.”

He said that the space previously allocated for horse stabling had to be discontinued due to the concerns raised by the National Environment Commission (NEC) because most of the water sources are situated on the outskirts of that area.

Ugyen maintains that the thromde makes every effort to return the horses to their owners instantly. “However, issues arise when the owners fail to come forward to claim their animals.

“We have maintained contact with Lingshi gup, to whom we promptly report whenever the horses appear within the city.”

Regarding horse deportation and lost cases, Ugyen maintained that the thromde follows the established protocol by transferring the horses to the tshether tshogpa, after which the responsibility and resolution of the matter lie with the horse owner and the tshogpa.