Special land committee not necessary for now, NA

The proposal to form a special committee called Poverty Reduction Committee (PRC) which would ‘review chronic land related issues in the country an eradicate poverty’ has been put on hold.

The special committee would also review and look into the land related cases which are with the Anti-Corruption Commission and would carry out the study as per His Majesty’s recent Kasho.

The National Assembly (NA) members supported the formation of such a committee but concluded that it is a topic that should be further deliberated in the next parliamentary session.

Trashigang MP Lhatu said the special committee is pivotal to solve land issues as most of the citizens in the constituencies complained about the land issues when MPs visited their constituencies.

“Some of the citizens voiced their unresolved land issues through media. And knowing the importance of land and to solve the issue, media covered all the regions as they could,” he said.

The Trashigang MP said 70% of rural population depends on 3% of cultivable land and 23.2% of this population lives under poverty.

“There are some issues of high level people misusing their power to proliferate land, misappropriation by land surveyors and many more,” he said.

The PRC, he said can look into whether the land is equally distributed to all the people without any disparity and whether it has followed the Royal Kasho,” MP Lhatu said.

Trashiyangtse MP Duptho said in developed countries there is some social security for citizens and especially for old age people. While in Bhutan land is the main social security.

“Given the chance to form the committee we would like to review it and table the issues and solutions in the 10th session,” he said.

Health Minister Zangley Dukpa said they were left with just eight to nine months. To submit the land report in the next session which means the committee will have to carry out the detailed study within a limited time, which is impossible as well as not efficient for a troublesome issue.

Equally discerning views were expressed by MPs who were not in favor of the special committee. The MPs who spoke rested their arguments on the existence of such agencies that regulated land provisions or dealt with land corruptions.

Punakha MP Tshering Penjore said the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) looks into scams, corruption and the National Land Commission (NLC) solves land issues.

Opposition Leader (OL) Tshering Tobgay suggested having a committee to look after the land amendment bill which would be discussed on Tuesday, whether it is followed as per the Royal Kasho.  If not the NA should ask the land commission to submit a report to parliament regarding the land issues, which would make their responsibilities important and effective.

“If in case we are not satisfied with the report and the content and more work needs to be done, then we should ask the Royal Audit Authority (RAA) to carry out a performance audit by endorsing it in parliament.” he said.

He said if ACC, RAA and the land commission carry out the work, there is no need for a special committee.

The labor minister Dorji Wangdi said there is no need for such a committee as Land Act 2007 would be amended soon

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