But local leaders still request for the exiting land to be leased 

Land: Although the construction of cowsheds on government land is considered illegal as per the Land Act, villagers could lease land for cowshed along with tsamdro (grazing land) leasing.

This was how the land commission has responded to the issue that local leaders of Wangdue had earlier raised to the Parliament.  That villagers be allowed to use government land on lease for cowsheds and the requirement for clear leasing rules on tsamdro was raised again when local leaders met the National Assembly speaker Jigme Zangpo yesterday.

Speaker Jigme Zangpo said leasing of cowshed has to be done as per the Land Act and the issue has been discussed at the Parliament. “When we talk about leasing, we should not forget the amount of land required for leasing and its long time consequences,” he said.

On December 22, the local leaders received a response to their request on the issue from the National Assembly secretariat. The secretariat had sought the views of the agriculture ministry, which had then consulted the land commission.

The land commission had stated that the cowsheds were found constructed illegally on government land during the survey, and was considered illegal encroachment.

However, it stated that if the land requirement for cowshed construction is genuine, villagers could lease land for cowshed and the herder’s structure along with tsamdro leasing since the construction of these structures were allowed with tsamdro.

The ministry had also stated that it was necessary to find out whether the existing cowsheds were built and used for cowshed or for other purposes. The ministry requested the dzongkhag administration to provide them with clear information on the existing cowsheds.

Sephu gup Rinchen Penjore said the villagers were asked to dismantle all cowsheds within 90 days according to the notification they received a week ago.

He said the department of forest has not yet received any order on leasing tsamdro, and that work is still on to finalise the details on leasing tsamdro.

Should the lease come through for tsamdro, local leaders worry that it would be allotted in far-flung areas with no settlement while their cowsheds are located near their homes.

Sephu gewog has more than 130 cowsheds built on government land, followed by Phobjikha and Dangchu, which also house more than 100 cowsheds. The issue was reported in almost all 15 gewogs in Wangdue.

Wangdue’s council representative Tashi Dorji and parliament member Kuenga had accompanied the Speaker.

Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue