Chimi Dema | Tsirang

A resident of Norbuzingkha chiwog in Tsendagang gewog, Dagana, has filed a written complaint to the dzongkhag administration on November 13, alleging the gup of corrupt practice and misuse of power.

The complainant, the owner of Norphel Bricks Manufacturing Factory in the chiwog, alleged that the 1.72-kilometre farm road to the factory, which was closed in April following the decision from the gewog Tshogdu is reopened in favour of a new businessperson.

“The gewog administration has closed the road reasoning disturbances from the factory to the nearby gewog centre,” he said.

He said that the road was constructed by 28 households in 2011. “Each of us contributed about Nu 17,000.” After the road reached the chiwog, he started a brick manufacturing business in 2017 on a 60-decimal leased land nearby the gewog centre.

“Despite the 10-year agreement, the landowner in collaboration with the gup last year, asked me to relocate the factory claiming that he wants to construct a house,” he said. “Without aggravating the issue, I agreed and shifted on my registered land which is located about 50 meters away from the previous location.”

He alleged that the landowner later initiated a bricks business instead of a house. “The gewog administration supported reopening of the road for his factory.”

He also alleged that despite the gewog administration issuing him approval for construction of a temporary shed last year, the gup put the complaint against him to the dzongkhag environment sector, alleging that he relocated the factory without prior approval.

“I was given approval to operate the business with a temporary shed until the new township work began,” he said. “However, I was fined Nu 27,500 although I have valid documents. The dzongkhag administration has directed to shut down my business since June this year.”

Kuensel learnt that the gewog administration issued approval for temporary shed construction to the complainant on September 3, last year with the understanding that he would dismantle it at the time of town planning period.

He has written that if other business people can run the factory with the support from the gewog administration, he should also be allowed to relocate the factory on his registered land.

On reopening of the road, Tsendagang gup, Bal Bahadur Rana, said that it was deemed necessary as residents living on the other end of the road closed it. “But the movement is allowed only after office hours and on weekends, and in emergencies.”

He said that initially the road was closed from one end in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. “But we cannot keep both the ends closed,” he said. “The complainant thought we reopened the road in support of the new factory which is untrue. This was not our intention.”

Gup Bal Bahadur Rana also said that the complainant operated the brick factory in partnership with the landowner in the past.

The gup said the complainant was given approval to start a new factory in a temporary shed. “However, I have advised him verbally to avail approval for relocation of the factory. He was fined as he did not have the clearance for relocation.”

Following the closure of the road by the gewog administration, the factory owner used the other farm road in the vicinity for transport.

The gup, however, said that the owner failed to restore damages done to the farm road and private structures within the deadline given by the gewog administration. “The residents later restricted heavy vehicles.”

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the disciplinary committee of the dzongkhag tshogdu has investigated the allegations following the directive from the dzongkhag administration on November 26.

The report has been submitted to the dzongkhag administration. However, Kuensel couldn’t get the report.