Landowners and building owners embroiled in ownership dispute

Tshering Namgyal | Yadi

Almost two decades after Yadi satellite town was established along the Mongar-Trashigang highway, residents are struggling without basic amenities.

There are more than 20 businesses operating from two to four storied traditional houses and business is thriving because of its location.

Located 36km away from Mongar towards Trashigang, public transport buses from Trashigang and Trashiyangtse to Thimphu, Samdrupjongkhar-Mongar and Mongar-Trashigang stop for meals. There is also a central school located right above the town. Residents of Ngatshang and three nearby gewogs of Chaskhar, Shelri Muhung and Thangrong come for shopping in the town.

However, residents say lack of parking space, public toilet, speed breakers and vehicle to collect waste is affecting the town.

Town residents said the road passing through the town is too narrow to park passenger buses and other heavy vehicles.

A businesswoman, Pema Choden, 55, said they fear vehicles falling on their houses one day. Another shopkeeper, Penjor, said road needs speed breakers and zebra crosses to control the speeding vehicles. “While there were no human casualties, many dogs and puppies were killed. It’s dangerous for students and customers.”

The town is also faced with waste issue.

For two years, residents hired private vehicles to transport the town’s garbage to a landfill located five kilometres away since 2017. Shop owners contributed Nu 180 a month for waste collection.

Since last year, residents organise mass collection of garbage on the 9th day of every month. Absentees are fined Nu 100.

The town tshogpa, Jigme, said some street light lamps are not working. “We have requested the concerned authorities but to no avail,” he said.

Meanwhile, 14 building owners in the town are still waiting for land ownership. They said they constructed the houses 17 years ago after Mongar dzongkhag allotted the plots.

The ownership certificate issue came up after four landowners who had some portion of the land, once belonged to them before the town was planned, refused to give the lagthram. It was learned that the dzongkhag administration then acquired the land that fell in the planned town area and developed into plots and 19 plots were allotted including the five plots to the four landowners.

Tshogpa Jigme said each plot owner paid around Nu 8,000 to the government after availing the plot. Dzongkhag municipality insisted the plot owners to start construction within a given timeline on the condition that the plots would be taken back if they failed to construct.

However, after the cadastral resurvey, Jigme said eight of the buildings were registered in the four landowners’ lagthram and they refused to give the land. Since then dzongkhag land record officials arranged several meetings among the landowners and the plot owners but could not reach a consensus.

“We have even agreed to pay additional amount to the private owners but they refused,” a plot owner said adding that they never objected when they started construction.

“We’ve houses constructed on loan and it’s almost clear but we have no ownership right to mortgage or do anything.”