By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Apr. 5: Tibetans in Dhondenling (Kollegal) settlement in Karnataka state have officially been handed over the Record of Tenancy Certificate (RTC), the legal documentation that allows sub-leasing the land in the names of individual Tibetans there, after more than 60 years since coming into exile.
On Monday, Central Tibetan Administration run Tibet.net said 122 Tibetan families in Kollegal have been handed over the RTC by President Dr. Lobsang Sangay in an official ceremony. The remaining families are set to receive the RTC in a couple of days.
“3000 acres of land acquired by the settlement are initially legally owned by the state’s Forest Department, however, with the implementation of the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy in 2014 and the incessant hard work of CTA’s Home Department, South Zone Chief Representative and Settlement Officer, in 2019 the state government of Karnataka agreed to lease the land to Central Tibetan Relief Committee (CTRC) for 20 years. The agreement also concedes subleasing the land to Tibetan residents,” Dhondenling settlement officer Gelek Jungney was cited as saying by Tibet.net.
The initial order to implement the issuance of the RTC was passed back in 2015 by the Karnataka state government to all its District Commissioners of the three districts where Tibetan settlements are located – Mysuru (Bylakuppe and Hunsur), Uttara Kannada (Mundgod) and Chamarajanagar (Kollegal).
The signing of the legal document for the same between the government of India represented by S S Nukul, District Commissioner of Karwar, and Karma Gelek, then settlement officer of Doeguling Tibetan settlement, Mundgod, representing the Central Tibetan Relief Committee (CTRC) took place on Dec. 23, 2016. The document signed and in effect is the first legal document that is leased to Tibetans represented by the CTRC in over 50 years of Tibetan exile-hood in India.
The development is the result of successive Kashag or the Cabinet’s efforts towards a definitive policy from the Indian government which finally came in 2014 with the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy Act. The land however, will not directly be leased to individual Tibetans but to Central Tibetan Relief Committee which will sublease the lands in the name of individual Tibetans accordingly. Mundgod Doeguling settlement has also received the RTC back in 2017 from the state government.
The Karnataka Secretary of the Revenue Department earlier in Nov. 2015 told reporters, “Neither the CTRC (Central Tibetan Relief Committee) nor any of the individual Tibetans would be eligible to transfer the lease or mortgage or pledge the leased lands to any institution or individual, which will attract termination of the lease. With RTCs in their name, they can avail crop loans, incentives on agriculture equipment, farm loans, etc. We have already directed deputy commissioners of three districts through the regional commissioners to implement the order.”