Agriculture minister promised to implement tsamdro and sokshing lease plan

Thinley Namgay 

The National Council (NC) members yesterday expressed concern over lack of implementation of their resolution.

During the follow-up report on the resolutions of the 28th session, members said that although the agriculture minister, during the question and answer session in the past NC session, promised that the ministry would soon lease out pasture land (tsamdro) and trees reserved for litter collection (sokshing) to the people, nothing is happening on the ground.

Members said that the issue of sokshing and tsamdro were not new and despite many deliberations in the past parliament sessions, the problem persists.

They claimed that many rural residents requested their local leaders to allow them to lease tsamdro and sokshing, but local leaders don’t know how to go about it and the documents have not gone beyond the gewog.

NC members claimed there is no proper instruction from the agriculture ministry and some dzongkhags lack management plan.

The NC member from Haa, Ugyen Namgay, said NC asked the agriculture minister why the government is taking a longer period to lease it to people in accordance with the Land Act 2007.

“The minister then said the leasing programme started in Merak and Sakteng as a pilot project  and they would implement it in other dzongkhags,” he said.

Members said that when NC members inquired the National Land Commission (NLC) and agriculture ministry, NLC officials claimed works started five years ago and they were supposed to implement it since 2019.

They also said an awareness programme was conducted for the dzongkhag officials, but not even a single leasing request reached NLC until now.

MP Ugyen Namgay said agriculture officials also provided a similar response.

He said officials have to work based on land lease rules and regulations 2018 framed by the NLC, which mandates a management plan.

According to MP Ugyen Namgay, while inquiring  dzongkhag livestock and agriculture officials of Haa, Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Bumthang and Gasa, some said they do not have management plan and are waiting for the agriculture ministry order to implement it. “Some said there is no clear instruction from the ministry.”

He said that there is a lack of coordination between relevant officials. “To address the issue at gewog level, local officials should be trained and the government should issue leasing orders as soon as possible.”

Trongsa’s NC member, Tashi Samdrup, said people have been sharing the same concerns in the past and during the visit to respective dzongkhags.

“Dzongkhag and gewog officials have to collaborate to solve the issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, NC members also expressed concern over the lack of response from relevant agencies while discussing their resolution on the mental health issues and suicide and a review report of the state-owned enterprises under the Ministry of Finance.