YK Poudel

National Assembly adopted the Biological Corridor Nine Bill of Bhutan 2023 (BC9), yesterday accepting all recommendations from the National Council.

The Bill will now be submitted to His Majesty The King for Royal Assent as mandated by the Constitution.

The corridor will increase the country’s protected area coverage to 52 percent from 51.44 percent.

Finance Minister Namgay Tshering, on behalf of the Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, moved the motion for re-deliberation on the National Council’s (NC) recommendations for the Biological Corridor Nine Bill of Bhutan 2023.

Following the motion, the chairperson of the Environment and Climate Change Committee (ECCC), Gyem Dorji, presented the changes adopted by the NC on the Bill. The NC had adopted changes to Sections 3, 4, 10, 12 and Annexure II, and deletions of Sections 5, 13, 14, and the whole of 18 from the Bill. This was done to ensure ease in policy implementation and uniformity in the BC Act.

The recommendations of the NC were endorsed through a show of hands as per the required procedure for passing the Bills, and adopted the BC9 Bill 2023 with all 41 members present voting “Yes”.

With an area of 216 square kilometres, over 60.2km would pass through six gewogs namely Toedtsho, Yalang, Khamdang, Bumdeling, and Yangtse gewogs in Trashiyangtse, and Phongmey gewog in Trashigang. It connects Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary (BWS) and Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS).

A total of 363 households are living within the proposed corridor.

The BC9 is the first BC in the extreme east and will complete the Bhutan Biological Corridor Complex (B2C2).

The BC9 is expected to ensure animal movement and genetic dispersion in BWS and SWS and benefit in securing conservation funds, among others.

The rapid biodiversity assessment states that there are 124 species of birds, 25 species of mammals, and 227 species of plants in the proposed area.

The NA adopted the declaration of the eastern biological corridor on June 15 this year.