For alleged illegal construction of road in “restricted” area

Neten Dorji

Police in Trashiyangtse detained the Khamdang-Ramjar’s Member of Parliament (MP) Kuenga Loday on the evening of March 1 for his alleged involvement in an illegal road construction case in Trashiyangtse.

The MP was detained along with his nephew Karma Loday.

Their detention follows the detention of the MP’s elder brother Sangay Tempa, who is Khamdang gewog’s mangmi, and his three sons a few months ago.  Sangay Tempa and the three sons are on bail.

Sources claimed they constructed the road illegally in a restricted and prohibited area, although the gewog and dzongkhag administrations denied the permit.

Trashiyangtse dzongdag, Thuje Tshering, said the mangmi approached the dzongkhag administration twice, once to allow him and his sons to construct a farm road and later to take an excavator to Khosowong. “Since it’s a restricted area, we didn’t give the clearance, both verbally and in writing.”

Court officials said the MP and his nephew were detained to follow due process of law.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) charged them with malicious mischief, breach of public order and tranquillity, official misconduct, hindering prosecution and violating the Land Act, Environment Act and the Road Act.

However, the MP and mangmi’s father,  Kezang, denied constructing a farm road in the area but said his son (the mangmi) and grandsons took an excavator to develop their 12-acre land in Khosowong to grow vegetables.  He claimed the land was left fallow until now.

“It’s not true that they’ve constructed a farm road or approach road to Khosowong,” he said. “My four grandsons are unemployed and they wanted to grow vegetables on a commercial scale. One of them had just returned from the Middle East.”

Kezang said his son and grandsons brought back the excavator on the same day after receiving orders from dzongkhag administration.

He also claimed that when one of the grandsons uploaded the photo of land being developed by excavators in a WeChat group, MP Kuenga Loday questioned why they took the excavator to a restricted area. “He cautioned them of consequences but didn’t report to any authorities.”

Khamdang gup, Norbu, also claimed it was not a case of illegal road construction but for taking the excavator to a restricted area.

He said that, after learning that the mangmi and his sons took the excavator to the area, he reported to police and dzongkhag administration. “Officials from Thimphu and dzongkhag conducted the investigation.”