Lease government land for cowsheds, appeal local leaders

DT: Local leaders of Punakha requested the government to consider leasing land where villagers have constructed cowsheds across all 11 gewogs.
Raising the issue at the seventh dzongkhag tshogdu, yesterday, Teowang mangmi Naphey said a majority of cowsheds in villages are constructed on government land.
Although the land Act 2007 mandates that any structure constructed on government land be dismantled, the villagers, he said, are requesting that the sheds, which were constructed decades ago be allowed.
“The cowsheds are vital for farmers and we would like to request the government to lease out the land where the cowsheds are constructed,” Naphey said.
He said the issue has been raised at several district meetings, tshogdu and even to the National Council and their representatives in the National Assembly. “We would request the issue be raised at the upcoming parliament session since it is a problem for farmers across the country,” he said.
Guma gewog’s mangmi Bago Dorji said that most cowsheds listed as encroachment today are old and constructed years ago. “Therefore, dismantling them becomes a problem as well as an expensive affair to the people,” he said.
Toewang gup Touchu said when the houses were registered in the 70s, only those who were vocal and managed to register the cowsheds along with their houses while others failed. “When we try to implement the land rules and approach people, people claim that the cowsheds have existed for generations,” he said.
Supporting the leasing request, Chubu mangmi Jimba Gyeltshen said the cowsheds increased following concerns on health care and cleanliness, where farmers were suggested to keep their cattle away from home.
There are about 50-95 cowsheds in almost every gewog standing on government land today in Punakha.
Punakha’s land record officer Namgay Dorji said everyone is aware that it is illegal to construct on government land. He said, if people don’t own land, then the land Act allows people to take land on lease.
However, for the cowsheds constructed on government land, he said, farmers will have to first dismantle the old structures and then avail land on lease as per the procedure.
The DT decided that it would submit the local leaders’ proposal to the government.
By Dawa Gyelmo, Punakha

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