Yearender/Land: The year of the Wood Male Horse will go down as a historic year for thousands of poor and landless farmers in rural Bhutan.

In one year, His Majesty the King granted land kidu to 25,815 beneficiaries in Zhemgang, Pemagatshel and Samdrupjongkhar, taking the kidu recipients to 102,336 people in 13 dzongkhags since His Majesty initiated land reform in 2010.  This is about 15 percent of the population.

In Samdrupjongkhar, on December 24, about 15,328 acres of land was given to 9,758 beneficiaries from 11 gewogs.  In giving the kidu, His Majesty always made it a point to remind the people of the importance of land. “If people stand to benefit from land, and can use it to improve the lives of their children and future generations, then it’s always better to put this land in the hands of the people, and help them prosper, rather than letting it lie fallow,” His Majesty said while awarding the kidu.

His Majesty reassured the people that this would not be the last land kidu granted to them, and those, whose land issues were not yet resolved due to various reasons, would also be taken care of.

Earlier on December 22, His Majesty granted land kidu to 9,339 beneficiaries (thram holders) from 11 gewogs in Pemagatshel.  A total of 20,969.578 acres was granted as kidu to the people of Pemagatshel.

The kidu was granted to those landowners, whose lands were marked as excess land, and reflected against their old thram during the national cadastral resurvey programme (NCRP).

Majesty also granted kidu to exempt the excess payment, which landowners had to pay.  A total of Nu 9.429M would be refunded and Nu 244.314M, which is due for payment, was granted exemption, according to the statistical summary on the grant of land kidu compiled by the land commission.

In September, while on a royal visit to Zhemgang, His Majesty granted land kidu to 6,718 households, including those who were eligible for land substitution in Zhemgang.

Land reform was one of the first initiatives of His Majesty the King upon accession to the Golden Throne.

During the 86th session of the National Assembly, His Majesty said that the biggest kidu for the people of Bhutan was related to land, and that he would personally visit the people in every dzongkhag to resolve any land related kidu.  Upon royal command, the National Land Commission carried out a nationwide cadastral resurvey.  The first land kidu, following the re-survey, was granted in Lhuentse in 2009.

A total of 123,071.982 acres of land have been granted in 133 gewogs to 102,336 beneficiaries in Lhuentse, Bumthang, Mongar, Wangduephodrang, Haa, Dagana, Punakha, Trongsa, Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Zhemgang, Pemagatshel and Samdrupjongkhar since 2010.

Ugyen Penjore