Background

The institution of land administration offices actually dates back to the time when Bhutan started inventorying privately held landholdings, probably for tax assessment. However, the formal settings started only in 1956, with the establishment of Land Revenue Survey Office in Samtse. This office was mandated to carry out chain survey.

Chain surveyors with Babu Duba Tshering (with hat)
Chain surveyors with Babu Duba Tshering (with hat)

The Land Record and Settlement Office was established under the Ministry of Finance in 1967 and in 1972 the Office of the Chief of Survey was established, primarily for the demarcation of Bhutan-India boundary and topographic base mapping. These offices were merged in 1986 to form the Survey of Bhutan. In 1999 this office was renamed as the Department of Survey and Land Records and placed under the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs. This department was transferred under the Ministry of Agriculture in 2003.

The Land Act 2007 was enacted during the 87th Session of the National Assemble by revising the Land Act 1979. Pursuant to the Land Act the National Land Commission was established as an autonomous agency with 11 Commission members. The Department of Survey and Land Records has become, by default, the National Land Commission Secretariat with all its functional divisions. The Department was formally bifurcated from the Ministry of Agriculture on 15th August, 2007. The newly appointed Secretary Dasho Sangay Khandu took over as the Head of the National Land Commission Secretariat. This day marks the founding day of the National Land Commission and its Secretariat.