In what came as a surprise to the local government leaders in Tsirang, a recent survey revealed rampant encroachment of government land by the residents.

The survey, conducted by dzongkhag land record officials found that there are at least 827 cases of state land encroachment.

During the second dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) yesterday, the dzongkhag administration sought support from the local leaders to address the issue and its challenges.

Although details of the report were not available, land record officials said that among the 12 gewogs, Doonglagang has the highest encroachment and Sergithang the least.  Land record officials said that the detailed survey report was forwarded to the National Land Commission (NLC).

Alarmed by the findings, local leaders said that the issue needs revisiting. They agreed that state land encroachment has been a problem but Tsirang may not have such rampant cases.

Rangthaling gup, Bal Bahadur Tamang, said the findings indicate that there have been lapses from the gewog administration because of which people encroached into state land. “The figure is alarming,” he said.

He said that before the NLC and dzongkhag land record officials resolve the problem, they have to wait for the new lagtharms.

Patshaling gup, Chabi Kumar Rai, said that people in the villages would not encroach on the government land knowingly.

He said only 30 percent of the residents were issued with new lagthrams. “Without lagthrams, we may not be able to do anything to address the illegal encroachment.”

The DT chairperson, Shiva Lal Kararia, said that further discussion will be held on the issue and the tshogdu should find out how the number of encroachment increased. “The issue will be discussed in the third DT.”

One of the issues that took most of the DTs time was finalising the ways to fund Tsirang Moenlam Choenmo.

The annual Moenlam Choenmo was conducted with a fund of less than Nu 5M so far, which is said to be barely enough.

The DT almost decided that the gewogs should divert Nu 200,000 from the gewog development grant (GDG) for the Moenlam Chenmo. As the discussion progressed, the amount was reduced to Nu 100,000. However, with several local leaders saying that diverting GDG to fund Moenlam Choenmo was not feasible and will contradict the GDG guideline, they could not finalise it.

It took almost two hours to decide that the local leaders will discuss further on how to generate more fund. They discussed that they will ask for donations from all civil servants and public of Tsirang living within the dzongkhag as well as outside.

The DT also discussed on the requirement of a college in Tsirang, encouraging tourism in the dzongkhag and Tsirang dratshang facing a shortage of monks.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang