Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Phuentsholing Thromde yesterday took over four structures from private individuals who had constructed and owned them illegally on the State land.

Despite serving several notifications to the individuals since last year, there was no action, due to which thromde was forced to take firm action, thromde officials said.

One of the structures was initially operated as a dairy cooperative booth. However, the cooperative dissolved and the space was subleased and the earnings didn’t come to thromde. It was also located right beside the new Northern Bypass highway and didn’t serve any purpose for thromde. So, it was dismantled yesterday.

Another was a government property, which was once owned by the trade office. However, a private resident stayed there later. Kuensel learned that although the private resident had stated in the court that he had purchased the house, the Supreme Court maintained that it was a State property. Chukha dzongkhag court then ordered the thromde to take over the property.

The house was not dismantled. It will be repaired and put to use for other purposes. However, a small storehouse made of CGI sheets, which was constructed illegally just below the house, was dismantled.

Phuentsholing Thrompon Uttar Kumar Rai said that demolition of structures built on encroached State land will also be carried out in other parts of the thromde and the land or properties will be utilised properly for benefit of all the thromde residents.

“Encroachment on State land by illegal or unauthorised structures in the past was rampant. It has become quite challenging for us to demolish and free the State land from the private encroachers,” he said. “It is our responsibility to implement the order of demolition once received from the relevant authority.”

Thromde officials said they are forced to demolish the structures as it is an offence as per the Land Act of Bhutan 2007. They said encroachment on the State land also hampered public infrastructure development.

Despite issuance of several notices, thromde officials said only a few have complied, pointing out that those who failed must act fast.

Uttar Kumar Rai added that those who have leased government land, including land for industrial purposes, are not allowed to sublease to other parties.

“They have to operate only for the approved activity on the leased land. Defaulters will be served one-time notice and failure to act accordingly within the given deadline shall be terminated,” he said.