Land: Zhemgang dzongkhag will allot one plot each to 27 households at Trong village located above Zhemgang town by June.

The plots will be allotted at Womtakpa near Zhemgang central school. Each household will get a nine decimal plot.

Dzongkhag engineer, Kintu, said the area was surveyed a month ago. “This is Kidu that His Majesty The King granted to the people of Trong as it is preserved as a heritage village,” he said.

Residents of the village are restricted from renovating and altering their homes with modern materials like cement. But residents can still construct toilets once their pit toilets cannot be used anymore. “Toilets should be blended with the traditional architecture and it should be built using only mud and wood,” Kintu said.

The traditional double storey houses in Trong are almost attached to each other. The village is a good example of a clustered settlement.

More than two families live in each house while some houses accommodating up to four families. This is because the residents of Trong village do not own land elsewhere to construct houses.

The dzongkhag disallowed new constructions, and renovation or alteration of existing houses about two years ago.

Kintu said residents have been given plots to enable them do commercial activities as they are within the town area. “It is unfair if we disallow renovation and alteration of their houses if not provided with these plots,” he said. He added that with allocation of the plots, the dzongkhag would also be in a better position to restrict structural alterations in the village.

Kintu said the works and human settlement ministry is currently working on guidelines on how the village will be maintained. “People can still live in their houses even after the plots are allocated,” he said.

Pema, 56, from Trong village said His Majesty The King visited the village last year and declared that the village will be preserved and that the residents will be granted land Kidu. “I am so happy with that. I would set up a shop on the new plot,” she said.

Lemo, 54, said she would build a house on the new plot by availing loan and renting it out. “I don’t have any other land for house construction otherwise,” she said.

In an earlier interview with Kuensel, works and human settlement ministry officials have said it is difficult to trace the history of Trong for lack of written or oral documents but they presume the village was established during the construction of Zhemgang Dzong in 1655.

The most striking feature of the houses in Trong are their resistance to earthquakes despite being built on rocks without proper foundation.

Nima Wangdi | Zhemgang