145 violators identified in the capital city

Yangyel Lhaden 

They were warned, not once or twice, but thrice with enough time to remove structures that encroached on government land. When they ignored it, the thromde took the matter in their own hands. Thromde officials came to Olakha workshop yesterday with an excavator to demolish or damage the structures that were built without permission.

About 13 illegal structures expanded on government land at Olakha workshop area. Not many were complaining. They knew the consequences. The thromde office issued a general notification on October 8, last year to remove illegal structures in the city and began inspection from November 7. A separate notification for Olakha Workshop to remove illegal structures was issued in December and was given extension because of the lockdown.

In the last one month Thimphu thromde issued three notices to workshop proprietors, first notice to remove illegal structures within one month, second to remove illegal structures within 10 days, and the last notice saying that the office would demolish the structure anytime from the day of last notification.

Thromde’s demolition team is also removing scrap vehicles in the area. Some of the scrap vehicles have been parked in the area for more than 10 years.

Thimphu thromde demolition team removes an illegal structure

Head of Land Record and Survey Division under Thimphu Thromde, Sonam Tobgay, said that it has been almost two years since the thromde issued notice after notice for Olakha workshop area to remove the structures. “Unlike in other cores areas where one cannot utilise their whole plot for construction, Olakha workshop landowners were allowed 100 percent land utilization for construction, yet they encroached on government land.”

Thimphu thromde’s Urban Planner, Thinley Norbu said the illegal structures in the area compromised infrastructure development such as proper drainage, sewage, and parking area. “There is increased risk of fire hazard as well.”

Thinley Norbu said that plans to redevelop the Olakha workshop is ready and would be executed in the next fiscal year. “We have to remove illegal structures to make the area better with improved drainage, sewage and parking.”

Some had complied with the thromde notice. Proprietor of Kuenga Automobile, Kuenga Norbu said that it was important to cooperate with the thromde. He removed the illegal structures after the last notice. “Thromde should now start re-development of the area as soon as possible for people to benefit.”

Yonten Phuntsho, proprietor of a workshop has installed a new painting booth worth Nu 2.5 million which has encroached two metres into the state land. He said that the painting booth was installed last month by his employees when he was in quarantine. “I was not aware that the structure has encroached on state land.”

Yonten Phuntsho said that when thromde issued notification to demolish the structure, he requested thromde office to lease him the land. He waited till the last day.

Thinley Norbu said that the thromde office would carry out similar demolition in the entire city for unauthorised structure after completion of demolition in Olakha.

Executive Engineer Teknath Kararia with the Compliance and Enforcement Division said that since November 7, last year building inspectors have been monitoring the entire city for structures  deviating from approved drawing and structures encroaching state land.

The inspection team found 145 defaulters which were served notices to remove illegal structures. 14 defaulters were imposed a penalty.

Teknath Kararia said that some individuals had paid a penalty of Nu 20,000 and completed demolition of structures. “If the violators fail to comply with the notices, demolition would  start  soon  in accordance with the notification issued on May 26.”