A case of the straw that broke the camel’s back?

Failure to reach decision on P/gatshel’s thromdes might jeopardise establishment of the rest

Opposition: Establishment of thromdes in the remaining dzongkhags might become unconstitutional if Pemagatshel continues to remain without a dzongkhag and yenlag thromde even after the parliament’s winter session.

The opposition party, during a meeting with the press on June 19, said the prime minister, during his state of the nation address, assured that Pemagatshel would not be deprived of a dzongkhag and yenlag thromde.

On June 11, when the joint sitting endorsed dzongkhag thromde for 19 dzongkhags, Pemagatshel did not secure a three-fourth majority votes for both Denchi and Nganglam.

Khar-Yurung’s member Zanglay Dukpa said, going by the Constitution, if one dzongkhag failed to get a thromde, the rest should be disqualified as well.

The establishment of thromde was endorsed in line with the Constitution that guarantees all 20 dzongkhags with a dzongkhag and yenlag thromde each.

Some interpret this by saying that if one dzongkhag fails to get thromdes, the rest should by default be disqualified.

Leader of the opposition, (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho, said had the government consulted properly with the public on location of Pemagatshel’s thromdes, such a problem would not have risen.

Public should be informed of on the location of thromdes, benefits and long-term plans, he said. “Thromdes can’t be established on an ad hoc basis.”

In case of Pemagatshel, he said, many are in favour of Denchi, which had been identified as a thromde more than three decades ago.

He also said that there were no clear polices as to how the farmland that fell within thromdes would be conserved.

Members of the opposition said that many dzongkhags lack adequate population, proper geographic location and other components of the thromde to have a dzongkhag and yenlag thromde.

South Thimphu’s opposition member Yeshi Zimba said that, for instance, Damji in Gasa has only a few shops and Mendrelgang in Tsirang has only 72 people living in the town, which will make it difficult to produce a potential candidate for thromde elections.

The opposition members said they were doubtful on how unplanned locations would become a proper thromde.

In 2010, when the local government Act was amended, Parliament endorsed the establishment of thromdes A and B.  The Act was again amended for the establishment of dzongkhag and yenlag thromdes. 

There is a notion that rural and urban thromdes have to come up simultaneously, and that was what the government pushed for, according to the opposition.

Elsewhere in the world, the two thromdes never came at a time, said Yeshi Zimba. “Some will have no thromdes, while some will have more than one, based on the need,” he said.

Members of the opposition also said that they received a letter from the Election Commission of Bhutan, stating that, if they did not support on the endorsement of thromde, it would be unconstitutional.

By Tenzin Namgyel

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