Stakeholders meet to address probable land use conflicts in 13th FYP

Activities and initiatives under the 13th Five-Year Plan mostly do not specify the locations of the planned activities. This the National Land Commission Secretariat, NLCS said will give rise to land use conflicts between the agencies while carrying out their respective plans. To address and solve probable land use conflicts, a three-day stakeholder consultation meeting, a first of its kind was held in Thimphu earlier this week.

The meeting brought together 56 entities, including ministries, autonomous agencies, corporate bodies, and civil society organisations. It was aimed at improving the ongoing National Land Use Zoning and for seamless implementation of national and sectorial plans for the use of lands.

According to the NLCS, land use conflicts arise when the identified land is being used for another purpose due to improper planning and zoning which costs the nation over time. For instance, earlier this year, the Jigmeling Industrial Park was relocated from Gelephu to Samtse, costing over 9 billion ngultrum. The NLCS stated that the industrial park had to be moved due to the low feasibility findings of its location in Gelephu carried out by the Department of Industry.

During the meeting, the participants presented their land use plans and programmes for the 13th Five-Year Plan. Recommendations and potential conflicts with other agencies regarding specific land were identified and discussed.

For example, the NLCS recommended further discussions and negotiations between the Department of Energy and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock when the department presented its plans for a 75-megawatt solar power project on 599 acres of land at Gogona in Wangdue Phodrang. This poses an inconvenience for the ministry, as the projected area falls within the fodder promotion area managed by the ministry.

“During the three-day meeting, we discovered that many agencies did not specify precise locations for their activities, resulting in generic descriptions. Consequently, we have decided that these agencies must promptly identify and present the exact locations to us. Subsequently, we will convene once more to address any potential conflicts regarding land use,” said Gonpo Tenzin, Chief Programme Officer of NLCS.

He added that the meeting will facilitate the establishment of a harmonised land use system in the country.

According to the NLCS, more than 450,000 acres of land in the country have been identified as having land use conflicts.

Tashi Dekar

Edited by Kipchu

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