During the question-hour session in National Council (NC), the MPs in the house expressed concerns regarding the leasehold of sokshing and tsamdro, and compensation to those farmers whose food crops are lost due to natural calamities.
The house, in its previous session, had raised questions on the delay in implementation of leasehold provisions and compensation to be paid to the tsamdro right holders according to the land act.
Following the concerns raised by NC, the Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Yeshey Dorji, said that after enacting the Land Act of Bhutan, 2007, the ministry has advocated the procedures to people in many dzongkhags and the implementation processes has been initiated in Punakha.
Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji informed the house that the ministry along with the National Land Commission and various departments are completing the leasehold provision in Punakha.
The government has targeted to complete such provisions in ten dzongkhags by the end of 2016 and other nine dzongkhags in 2016 to 2017 for tsamdro which will be followed by sokshing. The ministry is also in the process of providing land compensation to the farmers whose sokshing and tsamdro have been either lost to roads and building other infrastructure or to the community forests.
Lyonpo pointed out the challenges faced during the pilot phases, mainly due to a lack of human resources, and issues such as land registered in the name of deceased, inaccurate data reflected in the thrams records maintained within gewogs and dzongkhag.
“Problems has been rectified and updated by the ministry now,” the Agriculture Minister said.
And in response to the issue of compensation for crops lost to windstorms and other natural calamities, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said that the affected people are already receiving relief Kidu from His Majesty’s Kidu Office.
Presenting the report, Lyonpo said that the natural calamity that occurred on October 13 and 23 has affected 791 households in 22 gewogs in Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Mongar, Lhuentse, Wangduephodrang and Punakha.
Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said that about 735 acres of rice field, 20 acres of maize field and six acres of chili field were reported to have been damaged by hailstorms nationwide.
In a separate report of crops damaged in different dzongkhags, Lyonpo said that Trashiyangtse and Mongar suffered a maximum damage to their maize crop. Wangudephodrang reported on damage to chili fields, and Wangduephodrang was also found to be the most affected dzongkhag as 217 households suffered damage worth over 379 acres of crops.
Lyonpo said that the relief program started from Punakaha and Wangduephodrang. Monetary Kidu to the affected farmers in these two dzongkhags was provided. According to Lyonpo similar relief Kidu will be provided to the affected farmers in the east. He added the people are grateful for such Kidu.
The ministry, with support from relevant agencies, is planning for viable long-term strategies and mobilizing resources to address such catastrophes in future.