Chimi Dema | Tsirang
The Government to Citizen (G2C) eServices for forestry clearance is causing inconveniences to rural residents, according to farmers and local leaders in Tsirang.
They said the G2C service requires information on the boundary peg of private land when they apply for forestry clearance to remove forest produce from their private lands.
A farmer from Patshaling, Dip Bahadur Monger, said it is not practical to have boundary pegs for the lands they own.
He said most farmers have difficulty earning Nu 2,000 a month. “How will we afford to put boundary pegs. Lands are fragmented.”
The Tsirang divisional forest office also issued a notification on March 2, mandating the boundary pegs if people want to remove any forest produce from private registered land from March 1.
The chief forestry officer in Tsirang, Dimple Thapa, said that although boundary pegs were required to demarcate boundaries between private registered plots before, it is not mandatory now. “The new rule mandates boundary peg between State Reserved Forest and private registered land.”
In the past, the service was provided based on the cadastral map maintained by the dzongkhag land record sector.
Meanwhile, gewog officials said each gewog has about 25 applicants for forestry clearance to remove forest produce from private registered lands.
Local leaders raised the issue in the recent dzongkhag tshogdu (DT), requesting the agriculture ministry and National Land Commission Secretariat (NLCS) to bear the cost of installing the pegs.
They reasoned it would have huge financial implications on farmers.
Mendrelgang gup Yeshi said that although the boundary pegs would be convenient, many rural residents would not be able to afford it.
Rangthaling gup Bal Bahadur Tamang said the government has been installing peg to demarcate boundaries between the SRF and private registered land in the past.
He said that it could benefit the farmers, who cannot afford on their own if the government could support them like in the past.
The dzongkhag land record officer, Ugyenla, said NLCS and MoAF could discuss the matter.
Gewog leaders also suggested deferring the implementation of the new rule.
Patshaling gup Chabi Kumar Rai said that it would be difficult for people to install the pegs immediately given the limited human resources to conduct land surveys.
“Today, a land record official looks after three gewogs of Barshong, Mendrelgang and Patsahling. It would consume time to conduct surveys and demarcate lands,” he said.
He suggested if certain time could be allocated for peg installation and application to be processed in the meantime.
Barshong gup Santa Lal Powdhel said that the requirement of boundary peg would also affect landowners of gungtongs or empty households who come home to clear bushes every year, as they may need to seek permits. “It would also become expensive. A peg has cost at least Nu 800 since a few years ago.”
The chief forestry officer explained that although the requirement of boundary peg was there for long, it couldn’t be implemented until recently given the shortage of pegs. “It is important to prevent encroachment on the state reserved land.”
The official also claimed that all applications for forestry clearance for private land until May 18 were approved
The DT decided to forward the matter to MoAF and NLCS.