Choki Wangmo | Dagana  

The inspection team for subsidised rural timber composed of gewog administrative officer, forest officer, and chiwog representatives in Tashiding gewog, Dagana has started verification of construction and renovation sites of 15 applicants.

The allotment of timber for the construction and renovation of houses in rural areas is based on the Forest and Nature Conservation (amendment) Rules and Regulations 2020 (FNCRR) approved last year.

Tashiding Mangmi Rajman Blon said that by month-end, the inspection team was expected to recommend to the gup about approval or rejection of applications for construction or renovation of houses in the gewog.

According to records, out of 15 applicants, nine applied for renovation and six for new construction. 

The agriculture ministry’s notification issued last month stating that the amended FNCRR comes into effect beginning this month. It says that the amendment of certain provisions was carried out to resolve challenges faced by the implementers in the field. “It would facilitate the smooth and effective implementation of the provisions of the Forest and Nature Conservation Act of Bhutan 1995.”

According to the new FNCRR the applicants for construction of two-storey house can avail a maximum of 4,000cft in logs from Natural Resources Development Corporation Limited’s (NRDCL) depot or 18 standing trees once in 25 years.

Applicants for construction for one-storey house can avail 2,000cft from NRDCL depot or nine standing trees once in 25 years.

For repair, renovation, and extension, the maximum quantity of subsidised rural timber for rural houses are 700cft or three standing trees once every 12 years. For other constructions such as livestock shed, storehouse, farm guard or watchtower, and toilet, an applicant is entitled to timber allotment once in five years.

Compared with FNCRR 2017, FNCRR 2020 has amended six rules and one annexure, inserted a new provision under two sections and deleted three provisions.

However, applicants are unaware of the rules while others feel that the physical inspection of the house alone is not enough to verify whether the house requires renovation or not.

An applicant for rural timber in Tashiding said that his application for house repair was not approved, stating that his house condition was comparatively better than others. “It might look good from the outside but in warm areas, houses are affected by woodworms.”

“If it is the rule, I need to respect that,” he added.

One of the eligibility criteria to access rural timber is that the applicants should be thram holders in the gewog, said senior forest officer of Tashiding gewog Dhan Bahadhur Golay.

Edited by Tshering Palden