MB Subba 

The Covid-19 pandemic left most Members of Parliament (MPs) without much to do except during the two brief sessions held after the country recorded its first Covid-19 case in March last year.

A majority of MPs, however, are planning to make constituency visits now that the situation has improved. They say they have been communicating with their constituents.

Speaker Wangchuk Namgyel said that 70 percent of National Assembly members were heading for constituency visits. The constituency visits, he said, would be three-week long.

The meetings, he said, would be held in a Covid-19 containment mode. “MPs will review development activities and disseminate information on resolutions of Parliament.”

Parliament’s rules of procedure mandate that MPs visit their constituencies at least twice a year, once after the conclusion of every session, to discuss the issues with the people and to inform them about the plans and activities of both Parliament and the government.

But the MPs put a hold on their constituency visits last year as part of rationalisation of government expenditure. They also decided to contribute one month’s salary individually to the Covid-19 response fund.

Athang Thedtsho MP Kinley Wangchuk has already arrived in his constituency.

Dewathang Gomdar MP Ugyen Dorji said he would be visiting the constituency soon. He said that measures were put in place to avoid crowding. “The people are asked to raise issues on the social media platforms,” he said.

National Council members also said that they would be visiting constituencies.

A joint parliamentary committee comprising three members from the National Council (NC) and four from the National Assembly was formed in March last year to advise the government on management of the Covid-19 pandemic. But the committee has been largely idle.