Of the Nu 22.79 million (M) assessed for tsamdro (pastureland) compensation in Trashigang, about Nu 17.73 could go to compensate the people in Merak and Sakteng gewogs.

With 47,728.81 acres of tsamdro, Sakteng is likely to receive the highest compensation amounting to Nu 9.55M. With 40,910.5 acres of tsamdro, the people of Merak will receive about Nu 8.18M for the tsamdro that will now be under the government.

As of yesterday, about 70 percent of the tsamdro compensation for Sakteng was completed. According to the senior dzongkhag livestock officer, Naina Singh Tamang, the remaining 30 percent will be completed today and the compensation for Merak will begin from May 10.

While the government plans to lease the reclaimed tsamdro, people are unhappy with the move. Sakteng Gup Sangay Dorji said that after receiving the compensation, it feels like they have officially lost their land to the government, adding that people have approached him saying their land now is officially under the government can no longer prosper the way they could before.

“People say that they might have to start selling their cattle and buy a vehicle and start moving towards the town,” Sangay Dorji said.

Naina Singh Tamang said that according to a notification from the National Land Commission Secretariat (NLCS) dated December 27, 2016, since the cash compensation payments for tsamdro is in the process of being made in other dzongkhags, leasing of tsamdro as per section 236 of the Land Act of 2007 cannot be implemented nationwide immediately.

As an interim measure, people who own cattle can use tsamdro based on rights reflected in the old thram until the leasehold system is implemented. This means farmers can continue using the tsamdro as they have been until revised lease rate and leasehold system are implemented.

Naina Singh Tamang said that agriculture ministry and the NLCS are reviewing the guidelines of the revised lease rates.

“The lease rates for highlanders and lowlanders will be different and, possibly, there will be some considerations for the highlanders because they depend solely on pastureland,” said Naina Singh Tamang.

Tsamdro compensation for 13 gewogs in Trashigang was been completed in last fiscal year.

Younten Tshedup  |  Trashigang