Choki Wangmo | Tsirang

Tsirang’s Kilkhorthang Gewog Tshogdu yesterday decided to clear the thickets and bushes on abandoned private fallow land in the gewog to reduce instances of human-wildlife conflict in the villages.

According to gewog’s records, as of July 2020, out of 604.07 acres of wetland and 602.33 acres of dry land in the gewog, 73.35 acres of wetland and 78.4 acres of dry land were left fallow.

Kilkhorthang Gup Beda Moni Chamlagai said that with the increase in the number of fallow land in the villages, the cases of human-wildlife conflicts had also risen.

“The thickets and bushes near the cultivated land attract predators, damaging crops and vegetables,” he said, adding that animals such as bear and jungle fowls have started feeding on farms.

The chiwog representatives also say that compared to the past decades, fallowing of land has increased in the gewog.

By July 2020, from about 550 households, there were about 13 gungtongs in Kilkhorthang Gewog. This, the gup said, was a worrying increasing trend.

As the number of abandoned land increases with an increased rate of rural-urban migration, farmers in the villages pay the price, he said. Even electric fences cannot deter the wild animals from entering the farmland.

He said that the gewog would encourage the farmers to clear bushes in the fallow land annually, and those who are not in the villages can either pay those in the villages to do the job or lease the fallow land to farmers in the villages and encourage cultivation with mutual benefits.

Chiwog representatives said that the move was carried out and proposed in the tshogdu with public consultation.

However, a tshogpa said that the landowners staying in other dzongkhags should cooperate.

Sections 130 and 131 of the Land Act gives the local authority the responsibility to monitor and enforce the provision on underutilisation and underdevelopment of registered land.

Section 215, 216, 217, 218 of the Act also gives the local authority to issue a written notice to occupy the unused land.