Bhutan Biological Corridor Bill 2023 adopted

Bhutan Biological Corridor Bill 2023 adopted

National Assembly endorses National Council’s recommendations this week

The Biological Corridor (BC) Nine Bill of Bhutan, 2023 was adopted by the National Assembly (NA) on Thursday after all the 41 members voted in favour of the Bill that was recommended for endorsement by the National Council (NC).

This comes after the Energy and Natural Resources minister, Loknath Sharma introduced the BC Nine Bill of Bhutan in the NC on October 5. While introducing the Bill, the minister said that the concern for the proposed biological corridor is that it will come as restriction to the people.

The proposed biological corridor spans an area of 216 km² and has undergone a rapid biodiversity assessment which recorded 124 bird species, 25 mammal species, and 227 floral species, some of which are globally threatened.

The center line of the corridor is approximately 60.2 km in length and encompasses parts of Teotsho, Yalang, Khamdang, Bumdeling, and Trashiyantse gewogs under Trashyangtse dzongkhag and a section of Phongme gewog under Trashigang dzongkhag. Within the six gewogs, 363 households were recorded across seven chiwogs, covering 3.8% of the proposed corridor area.

The proposed area also has 4.36 km of farm road. The household density within the corridor is approximately 2 households per km², with clustering present in three gewogs. Eight chiwogs villages fall within the corridor, taking up 7.95 km² of the proposed area.

Drakteng-Langthel MP Gyem Dorji, who is the Chairperson of the Environment and Climate Committee (ECCC) presented the changes made by the NC. The NC adopted changes on Sections 3, 4, 10, 12 and Annexure II, and deletions of Sections 5, 13, 14, and whole of Section 18 from the Bill.

The motion for re-deliberation on the recommendations made by the upper house was moved by the Finance Minister, Namgay Tshering on behalf of the Agriculture Minister.

The Bill will be submitted to His Majesty the King for Royal Assent. The NA also adopted the declaration of the eastern biological corridor on June 15 this year in a similar fashion.

Sangay Rabten from Thimphu