Phuentsholing Thromde sees increasing cases of land encroachment

With 58 encroachment cases Thromde demolished 8 houses built illegally near Bhalujhora, Pasakha

Phuentsholing Thromde is taking action on structures built without permit on encroached land. There are more than 58 cases of occupation beyond the registered land, which means encroachment by permanent and semi-permanent buildings, compound wall, garage, parking, roof extensions, etc., and other utilities. According to the Thromde, the number of encroachment, from the core area to Rinchending area, has increased over the years.

Occupants residing in the illegal settlement were cautioned and notified of removal of structures and encroachment on non-viable state land. Similarly, Phuentsholing Thromde has more than 10 cases of encroachment by lessee, which means occupancy beyond the lease period and leased area. Those cases are reported from Pasakha and core area.

The settlement at Pasakha near the Bhalujhora bridge, where there are more than ten defaulters who have been occupying the state land for the past several years, is identified as the first site for demolition.

Thromde along with other relevant stakeholders demolished 8 houses near Bhalujhora bridge which was an illegal settlement.

Chief, Land & Survey Division, Phuentsholing Thromde, Sonam Tobgay, shared that the identified illegal settlement existed as early as 1978, and since then various course of action and correspondences between Thromde and the illegal settlers were exchanged. A controversy started as the settlers have said that they bought the land from a person called Passang Tamang.

“End of all correspondences was completed on the lst February 2019, and accordingly services were disconnected so that they will vacate the area. However, they appealed for temporary lease for 6 months and Thromde considered the proposal on the ground of school going children,” he added.

The lease was executed on the 1 June 2019 and consequently exhausted on the 30 November 2019. Subsequently, on 6 December 2019, notification was sent on the exhaustion of lease, and a final notification to vacate the houses was given on before 13 December. On 19 December, water and electricity were disconnected.

The residents of the eight houses were left disheartened. They claim to have a land purchase transaction agreement between them and Passang Tamang. They claimed to have shown the agreement copy to Thromde and tried every possible ways to get the lagtharm. However, they did not get the lagthram and their agreement is not considered as legal document.

A 45-year-old victim said that though the land was bought legally, however, she did not get the lagthram. She said it is quite disheartening to know that some of the people who bought the land much after her had managed to get the lagthrams while she couldn’t get one.

“We approached all the agencies, but our voice remained unheard. Eventually we are left homeless. I do not know how few of them got the lagthram,” she said through tears.

Another victim said that though she lost everything, however, she will fight till the end. “Our voices should also be heard,” she said. The remaining families who lost their homes refused to talk to the media, saying the media did not play a role in saving their homes in the past years.

Phuentsholing Thrompon, Uttar Kumar Rai, said the demolishment of the settlement was done after series of studies, as per the rules and regulation and after sending number of notifications. He said people cannot encroach on government land.

He said, “We have consulted every government agencies and we couldn’t find the legality or evidences of the land. We tried every possible ways to get the legality of it, giving several time extensions. However, we couldn’t get which is why we had to demolish.”

Passang Tamang had only one acre of land, and is said to have sold the land to 13 households, of which 5 got their lagthrams, while the eight didn’t get the lagthrams.

According to the Phuntsholing Thromde, the cleared area will now be used to serve the community in better ways. “We will see the convenience of the people. We will come up with shops, clinic, police post, fire hydrate, etc. Also a dry-port will also come up in the area,” the Phuentsholing Thrompon said.

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