Kelzang Wangchuk | Narphung

A landslide in 2018 washed away about 30 acres of land belonging to 12 households in Narphung village under Gomdar gewog. The victims reported the matter to the gewog, who forwarded the case to the Samdrupjongkhar dzongkhag administration. 

Villagers are still waiting for land replacement. 

The gewog administration then wrote to the dzongkhag administration because there was not enough land for replacement within the gewog.

An elderly farmer, Sangay Tenzin, said that although they have reminded the gewog administration repeatedly, they still haven’t gotten the replacement.

He said that the gewog officials assured them they would get their land replacement. “But nothing has been done until now.”

Another farmer, Tshering Nidup, said that the landslide took arable land where they cultivated chilies and maize.

He said they stopped the cultivation in the area after the slide, adding that they were told to look for land within the gewog for replacement. He hasn’t found any so far.

The other households said since they had been growing crops in the area, they had not allowed anyone to dump excavated dirt and other waste on the grounds during the widening of the Samdrupjongkhar-Trashigang highway.

Villagers said that they were preparing the land for hazelnut cultivation when the landslide occurred. “It would help us if the concerned authorities could give us the replacement land soon, because we have been paying land taxes without using the land,” 75-year-old Rinzin Wangdi said.

Samdrupjongkhar Land Record Officer (LRO) Ugyen Tshering said the team visited the site and carried out assessments, adding that the slide had washed away about 30 acres of land.

“Since there was no land in the gewog to give them as a replacement, we offered them the choice of resettlement, but they refused,” Ugyen Tshering said.

He said that the office told them to look for land within the gewog for the replacement. “We will give them the replacement land if they manage to identify a place.”

Edited by Tshering Palden