Residents says they are not ready

Neten Dorji | Trashiyangtse

Villagers of three villages in Trashiyangtse may not have known the ills of development, but they sure do that urbinisation is not the best solution for them when their livelihood depends on agriculture.

Having forced to be a part of the thromde, villagers of Rinchengang, Chimsaningpa and Khaber submitted a petition to the dzongkhag administration. This is their second petition to exclude them from the town’s extended boundary.

The reasons are straightforward. They own acres of agriculture land once they depend for livelihood, they are worried about bureaucratic procedures in availing services and fear increased urban tax.

Karma Tshering, 66, said that given the villagers solely depend on agriculture and livestock, people were not ready to be a part of the thromde. “If we come under the thromde, every documents required us to route through the municipal procedures, which is difficult for us.” 

He said that when the village was under the gewog administration everything are easier.

Khaber residents were included under the town’s extended boundary in 2016 for the thromde elections since the existing town of Chorten Kora did not meet the requirements.  Villagers have not paid land tax for the year 2019.

However, residents said that some villagers are not even sure if they are in the thromde or gewog. “Sometimes we are asked by gewog officials to follow their orders and sometimes it is the municipal who authorized us activities.”

The new extended town includes Khaber, Chimsaningpa, Richengang and Baychen.  The total area was increased from 36 acres to 81 acres with the extension of the boundary. The extended town would serve as residential not for commercial purpose.

Villager Tsundu Dolma is worried that she would lose her agriculture land. “As we are depended on agriculture land, no land would left for agriculture activities.”

She said that, they didn’t understand why government wants to include their village under thromde. “There is enough space in existing town, if they really want to extend the town.”

Residents who fall in the thromde are not eligible for subsidized timber, boulders and sand and the free 100 units electricity among others.

Villagers claim that many of them were not consulted when they decided to bring the village in the thromde. “Every households in the village is willing to vote against this decision,” he said. “We have requested every Dzongdag who came to Yangtse to reconsider the decision.”

According to the petition signed by 53 villagers from Chemsa ningpa, Khabeer and Richengang, the people didn’t have time to consider the pros and cons of the village coming under the thromde.

The petition stated that there were not much benefit from thromde, the village could lose agriculture land and rural subsides. “ There would be no land left for agriculture activities to make a living,” letter states.

A villager, Jamtsho said that, paying urban land tax as per the thromde rules would prove taxing since most hold acres of land. “Ultimately people have to sell their land or either construct building without subsides of timbers and other materials which is a burden for us.”

Meanwhile, Trashiyangtse Dzongdag, Thuji Tshering, said that although the village is under the thromde administration, villagers will not be imposed any urban tax until they get facilities of a town. “Wetland would remain as it is. They can continue with agricultural activities.”

He said that people were worried after they were required to pay tax as per thromde rules.