SOME GOOD NEWS OVER GELEPHU LAND

After my chat with the LRO officer in the Gelephu Dungkhag, and my taste of his total confidence in their committee’s decision and the power of the local government, and the seeming confusion in the rest of the government over the limits of the power of these local governments, I wasn’t sure quite what to do.

It was obvious that the decision was unjust and therefore unacceptable. But it seems pretty often that being right has very little currency in this country. Continue reading

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NOT JUST CONFUSION

I thought I was just facing a lot of confusion in the cadastral surveys. It seems there is a lot more that I’m facing.

My plot of land with transfer problems has been ‘passed on’ by every committee. They never say no but they never take any action either. They don’t want to take any decision as they see any decision as risky. And they don’t want to help either. My final act to save my land is to appeal to the Gyalpoi Zimpon’s office.

The Zimpon’s office told me to be patient as there are many cases and they will get to my case eventually. That was in September 2012. Continue reading

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THIMPHU’S GREENISH BELT

In 1999, the government under the newly formed CCM decided to create the “Thimphu Structure Plan” (or TSP), the supposed mother of all master plans for the city. This plan introduced a new environmental concept for Bhutan known as the ‘green belt’ river buffer.

The concept drew its ‘legitimacy’ from the Forest Act that disallowed the extraction of any forest natural resources from within 30m of the river bank on. The TSP expanded on the rule by disallowing any development within 30m from major rivers and 15m from streams. It defined ‘development’ as basically anything man made from buildings to electric poles to roads.

The justification for this was to protect the ‘delicate riparian eco-system’. In addition, based on sound environmental logic, many other areas were reserved as protected areas within the city limits. Continue reading

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CONFUSION GALORE IN THE CADASTRAL SURVEY

Although I have trained as a surveyor as a part of my professional training and done many survey jobs, I find myself thoroughly confused whenever the surveyors survey the land. The technical aspects seem to be thoroughly mixed up with the bureaucratic aspects each one seeming to hinge on the other in a never concluding spiral.

Cadastral survey is a very simple concept based on a two-dimensional coordinate system. The important bits of information are the coordinates of the boundary corners that define your land and the acreage that falls within the boundary.

The NLC surveyors are technically competent enough. The hard work of calculating coordinates using manual calculations is now history with the use of total stations. Total stations are literally mini-computers that can calculate distances, slopes and angles instantaneously. Survey data can also be instantly downloaded to laptops and maps produced without even having to sharpen a pencil. Continue reading

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The arcade to Arcadia – if nowhere else!

One of the tell-tale signs that you are in a municipal zone in Bhutan, is the arcade walkway that fronts every commercial building. Architecturally speaking, the arcade is a walkway set behind a row of columns or arches allowing pedestrians to walk under the protection from both the sun and rain.

A good example of an arcade (Cleveland, Ohio)

The arcade concept was adopted in Bhutan a few decades ago in Thimphu when the first building control regulations came up. The idea was good and there were plenty of good precedents from abroad. Continue reading

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