Thromde: With mounting pressure, in the form of requests from landowners, the Gelephu thromde has proposed to reduce the buffer zone or no construction zone.

The proposal is already submitted to the Cabinet, but it Is not clear by how much the 500-metre buffer zone, will be reduced. “The issue was being raised in every thromde meeting and we are very much aware of the people’s concern for the reduction of buffer zone,” the thromde’s Executive Secretary, Karma Dupchuck said. “We are in the process of reviewing it and it is too early to comment by how many that the area coverage would come down.”

The buffer zone proposed for security reasons in the border town has made landowners unhappy as they couldn’t construct or develop their land. The zone is spread across 190 acres of land, mostly affecting landowners of Namkhaling area in the thromde.

Residents said they have appealed several times to at least reduce the size so that they could develop their land. With the town growing, residents said land has become valuable. They also said while their land in in the thromde’s jurisdiction, they hardly enjoy any benefits. “We don’t have good roads or even reliable electricity although we are a part of the thromde,” said a resident, Kamala Pradhan.

Another resident said they were the worst affected by the urban planning. “If we are in the thromde, we cannot construct. If we are a village, we cannot rear cattle,” said Narayan, a resident.

Another resident said that despite cleaning their house area thrice a day, dust cover their house without the road that connects the area blacktopped.

Yeshey Dema