Land Kidu: At the heart of His Majesty’s reforms

The PM, NC Chairperson, the Speaker and OL thanked His Majesty for granting Land Kidu to citizens from all walks of life

l Tenzin Wangmo, Thimphu

 

The closing session of the tenth session of the second parliament saw an emotionally charged house as the prime minister, national council chairperson, the speaker and OL thanked His Majesty for granting land kidu to citizens throughout the nation.

The land reform and kidu initiatives are best manifest in His Majesty’s words when He said: “I have travelled the country and met our people. Of all that I saw, the overriding lesson is that land is the most important asset of our people.”

Reflecting back, one of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s concerns was land. A series of Kashos (Royal Edicts) had to be issued, informing and instructing ministers and senior officials that land can be granted only by the Throne. There were other land related issues, too.

Similar to His Father, His Majesty the King had grasped the importance of land and the series of issues that plagued the people, especially the underprivileged. His Majesty has said that the important feeling of attachment and belief in the future of the country, will only come about if the people have effective and secure ownership to land.

It was a pressing issue that called for an urgent intervention. And this is reflected by the Royal Command, which was directed to the National Land Commission Secretariat (NLCS) on the morning of September 24, 2007.

“Land issues must be resolved once and for all – if we do not take it upon ourselves today to carry out a massive and all encompassing exercise, then like in the past we will only make small improvements on the existing system but leave the biggest problems unresolved and for future generations to suffer as we do.”

The Royal Command is a reiteration of His Majesty’s farsighted vision, for His Majesty do not want future generations to suffer. It reflects the Monarch’s steadfast belief that matters affecting people can and should be solved, “once and for all.”

In what scholars, historians and the Bhutanese educated lot call as His Majesty’s first landmark project, the National Land Commission Secretariat carried out the National Cadastral Resurvey Program (NCRP) from June 2008 till December 2013. The NRCP was the tool for resolving all land issues.

It was also directed to strengthen land tenure system and security of ownership, apart from establishing accurate, reliable and multipurpose land information system. Enhancement of land administration services, while promoting good governance, was another objective.

Economically, land ownership, from His Majesty’s lens, is both an end and a means for economic development. The age old tradition of tilling the land for others, whereby people shared the harvest was waning. People no longer wanted to work for others.

However, the provision of ownership turned the tables. People were ready to work if they had ownership. From the social angle, land ownership is a measure of prosperity, especially in rural areas. People holding land walk with their heads up, while those who have no land are looked down. Land ownership, instills confidence and breaks the social division of the haves and have-nots.

To echo the words of His Majesty, land ownership infuses love for the community and country. People imbibe attachment and love for the country.

All Bhutanese are equally important for the country. No one is above the law. These messages are articulated by His Majesty at several avenues. And it is immortally symbolized in the Royal Edict (Kasho) on land, which is self explanatory and highlight His Majesty’s emphasis on equality and rule of law.

Apart from land kidu, His Majesty has also initiated various other forms of kidu that is centered towards making the lives of the citizens happy and comfortable.

Starting from 2007 in Lhuntse dzongkhag, His Majesty has granted about 1, 34,000 acres as kidu to around 1,15,000 beneficiaries in the 16 dzongkhags till date.

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