Choki Wangmo | Tsirang

The Tsirang dzongkhag administration demolished 12 of the 14 houses that were built illegally on State land in Dzomlingthang under Gosarling gewog on September 15.

Land record officer Ugyenla said that the administration issued repeated notifications and warnings to dismantle the structures after the lease period ended.

However, residents said that after the owner of the property passed away, the property was not accessible. The deceased’s children live in other dzongkhags, and there was no one to take care of it.

There are 14 houses, which mostly served as retail spaces, on the State land. The dzongkhag administration leased the State land in 2013 for a period of five years.

“The notifications for the last two houses will be issued by the end of the month,” said Ugyenla.

The remaining two houses are expected to be dismantled by March of next year.

The administration found that only two shopkeepers out of 14 lessees have complied with the lease agreement. While some lessees rented the houses to other people, some did not make use of the houses. “According to the lease agreement, they are supposed to use the structures provided,” the land record officer said.    

The houses were reportedly built by the ancestors of the house owners. However, Ugyenla said that the first National Cadastral Resurvey Programme in 2003 and 2004 revealed that those individuals were not original thram holders, and the land actually belongs to the State.

At the site, the property was found empty. Most of the corrugated galvanised iron (CGI) sheets and planks, however, can be reused.

Ash Maya Jogi, 75, a former resident whose house was dismantled weeks ago is currently living in a temporary shed with her family. She claims that she had lived in the now-dismantled house for the last 50 years.

In tears, she said that her four children had requested the dzongkhag to grant an extension to dismantle the house, but to no avail.

Gosarling Gup Ram Bahadur Karki said that currently, there are no development plans for the area.

Residents recall that Dzomlingthang, popularly known as “Changchey bazaar” in the past, was one of the oldest towns in the southern region where people from other dzongkhags like Gelephu and Dagana frequented for trade.

Edited by Tshering Palden