Villagers of Tokha, Tshetshekha, and Wanakha of Paro’s Naja gewog have accused the dzongkhag administration of forcefully giving away land substitute from their chiwog to people from Bitekha.
People of Wanakha have approached the National Land Commission (NLC) for the second time for intervention. They apporached the NLC for the first time in 2016.
When the Bitekha Middle Secondary School was constructed in 2003, the government took four plots from private land. However, two parties are yet to receive land substitute.
The application submitted to the NLC in 2016, signed by more than 90 individuals from three villages in Wanakha chiwog, stated that the dzongkhag and gewog authorities had allocated land substitute without a consultation with the community.
Dago Dorji from Wanakha said that the ongoing construction of Haa-Chukha bypass road and widening of Haa-Thimphu road are affecting landholdings of 115 households. He said that the expansion of Wanakha Central School is also likely to take away private land.
“It would be convenient if limited vacant government land in the chiwog is kept for people of three villages in the chiwog,” he said.
“I don’t understand why the land replacement for Bitekha had to be alloted from Wanakha. There are plenty of vacant land Bitekha”
In their second appeal to the land commission on March 12 this year, the villagers accused the dzongrab of threatening the villagers and conducting the survey forcefully.
A survey was conducted on March 7, to allot land for the two individuals from Bitekha.
Wanakha tshogpa, Jamphel Dorji, said a meeting was held on October 30 last year headed by the drongrab and dzongkhag’s land committee.
The appeal letter states that the committee had earlier decided to retain the government land near Wanakha Central School for the villagers.
“When we tried to question the dzongrab, he threatened us,” the former tshogpa, Wangdi Gyeltshen, said. “Village elders like Dago Dorji had to runaway from the dzongrab.”
However, Dzongrab Kinley Gyeltshen said that the decision was taken by the committee.
“No one has the authority over government land,” he said, adding that everything was done under the purview of law.
He said the land substitute for Bitekha was pending for over 15 years and that the villagers had not let the surveyors do their job.
“They had threatened the surveyors and officials,” he said.
Kinley Gyeltshen said that what villagers are asking for is future plans. Wanakha was under Geleng gewog in Chhukha until 2007.