English | Dzongkha Friday, June 18, 2021

Farming activities and constructions allowed on lands falling under the Right of Way of power lines

Jun 10, 2021

Farming activities and constructions are allowed on lands falling under the Right of Way of power transmission lines. Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma informed this during the question hour session of the National Council, yesterday.

The Dagana Member of Parliament (MP), Surjaman Thapa, said people whose lands fall under transmission lines have not been allowed to construct structures on such land or have not been compensated.

According to the MP, more than 475 towers covering over 187 kilometres have been constructed between Wangdue Phodrang and Lhamoi Dzingkha. They pass through Tsirang and Dagana.

“People were compensated only if their land falls under the tower and were not compensated if their land falls under the transmission lines. Due to this, people were not allowed to build even small structures like toilets, animal sheds, and houses. So, what are the interventions undertaken by the ministry in addressing these issues?” the MP questioned.

In response, the Economic Affairs Minister said that land replacement as compensation is impossible if the land under the transmission lines is less than 10 decimals.

As per the Land Act, the minimum parcel of land that shall be registered in a thram is 10 decimals.

The Lyonpo however said that people can build any structure or do any activity on land within the proximity of the area covered under Right of Way with prior approval from the agency concerned.

“People are allowed to do farming but need to maintain a certain distance to the electric poles. However, if people are restricted in their area to work and are facing problems then they can apply to the local government and it will be dealt with by the Bhutan Electricity Authority. Likewise, there is no problem constructing structures such as animal sheds and small houses,” said the minister.

Lyonpo said as per the Electricity Act, a licensee shall pay full compensation to the landowner for loss of income from the land or damage caused to the land.

The minister also said the recently approved Sustainable Hydropower Development Policy 2021 requires the project developers to consult with people before any infrastructure development such as transmission towers, and use the land from state reserve as much as possible.

Kinzang Lhadon/Kelzang Choden

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