The National Council’s Member of Parliament Ugyen Tshering from Paro,asked Minister of Work and Human Settlement minister Dorji Tshering, the ministry’s plan to review the valley development plan and on how the ministry is going to go forward since they had lack of inadequate grass root consultations with the relevant stakeholders.
Lyonpo said that they would review the Paro Valley Development Plan (PVDP) in 2020-2021 fiscal year, however, they doubt what is reviewed would make everyone happy and satisfied.
Lyonpo said that the valley development plan was framed by the ministry with an objective to promote integrated planning by keeping traditional architects intact and cultural landscape preserved.
“The valley development plan is included in the National land use plan as a regulatory plan. The valley development plan extends to all the 20 dzongkhags. However, while implementing the valley development plan people faced many challenges and issues due to many restrictions,” he added.
He also said that people feel that the MoWHS has not consulted properly with the relevant stakeholders like National Land Commission, Ministry of Agriculture and Forest, Local leaders and residents while developing the plan.
Due to identification of Green zones, people are not allowed to convert wetland to dryland. There are many areas in Dzongkhags like Punakha, Wangdue and Bumthang which are identified as red zones or buffer zones owing to dangers of natural calamities like glacier outburst, floods etc.
These places are identified as unsafe for settlement and people are not allowed to do any sort of developmental activities. These are some of the issues and challenges faced by the people, he added.
Lyonpo said, “We cannot allow construction in between the paddy field nor can we allow them to construct a house near the river buffer zone because the water act says we cannot construct anything within 100 feet from the river. So, this way we are not sure if they can satisfy people.”.
The issue for now is, people want to construct in those areas which are not allowed by different acts or laws, he said, adding that if this is the case they would not be able to sort out the issue even if they review it 100 times or so.
During the consultation they have a poor participation and even if there is participation their expectation is to construct in restricted areas, Lyonpo added.
“We are giving them the possible possibilities. However, if that is what they want to do after so much of consultation then we may not be able to help them in any ways,” Lyonpo added.
Lyonpo said they have reviewed everything as per different acts.