27 March 2017, Thimphu: Coinciding with the Annual Forestry Conference, 2017, a forester of Paro Forest Division, Chogyal was recognized with an appreciation certificate and cash by the Ministry, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bhutan, Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay awarded recognition.
Speaking during the award, Agriculture and Forest Minister, His Excellency, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said his recognition is to prove that for those discharging their services with full dedication and commitments, the ministry provides a solid backing.
Chogyal was assaulted and got injured in April 23, 2014 while on patrol after the suspected illegal red sander smugglers in Paro. Kaka Tshering, Chief Forestry Officer of Paro Division said that they acted upon a tipoff they received and sent eight officials, split into two groups for an investigation. “The teams caught up with the truck supposedly ferrying the illegal consignment, along the highway and interrogated the truck owner Gemba.” He, however, declined to declare the consignment at the site.”We could not confirm the illegal consignment for lack of tools to dig through the sand the truck was laden with,” said Chogyal, a team member. He added, “the team accompanied the truck to unload the sand at Tenzingling School.” But the truck got struck in the side drain of the farm road.Failing to pull out the truck, they dug the sand at around 9 PM with the tools borrowed from the nearby village. “The team, as suspected, recovered sandalwood packed in the gunny bags which were concealed under the sand load,” said Chogyal. The team remained at the spot guarding the truck. By the time, Gemba was intoxicated with alcohol and threatened the officials on duty.
They reached him to his house which is one KM away from the spot only to return after one hour sometime at 2 AM. “He returned back driving one of the private vehicle and again started bullying the team. Few moments after things settled down, they spotted three people digging the sand trying to lift the sandal wood. When trying to catch, the miscreants escaped into darkness.Then these people, joining Gemba picked up stones in hiding and started pelting officials with stones. The first stone hit the truck, while second one, that came right after the first one hit Chhogyal on his head. Blood started oozing, and fearing the worst, he was immediately referred to hospital. Subsequently the matter was informed to RBP through CFO who came to investigate the case.
Next day the case was registered with RBP, Paro which forwarded to Paro District court. “After two years and six months battling the case, the court passed the verdict stating that we does not have enough evidences to prove Gemba guilty,” said Chogyal, the victim.
The Ministry appealed to high court, unsatisfied with the judgment of the lower court. Through a verdict passed on December 1, 2016, the culprits were handed over jail sentence of one year and six months and made to pay Nu. 7,500 as compensation to the forester, serving the fair share of justice.
Submitted by: Ugyen Tshering,
FIMS, FRMD, DoFPS