All is not well

It was a matter of all is well that ends well at the joint sitting yesterday. The Parliament unanimously endorsed Betekha as Paro’s yenlag thromde, Denchi and Nganglam as the Pemagathsel dzongkhag and yenlag thromde.

After a daylong discussion with heated debate and even accusations flying on Wednesday, members agreed to the special committee’s recommendations prompting the Speaker to congratulate the parliamentarians for agreeing on the recommendations. It was an achievement for the Parliament in the words of the Speaker.

The recommendations also include re-deliberating the Paro dzongkhag thromde. The thromde has become a thorny issue with people in the thromde literally begging the Parliament to reconsider the boundary. The thromde encroaches into paddy land, a livelihood of many coming under the thromde. The plea fell on deaf years. This was because the law didn’t allow the parliamentarians to change it.

Therefore, all has not ended well. We have only postponed a problem. The issue with the dzongkhag thromde is about the boundary, which members representing the dzongkhag fought to be changed. It is not about elections. By deferring the election, the real issue will not be solved.

The question is will the Parliament discuss the boundary of the thromde? When the gups came with the people’s plea, the Speaker said that reconsidering a Parliament’s decision would set a bad precedent. The Prime Minister was clearer.

The government is open to discuss anything but the delimitation of the dzongkhag thromde boundary, which the Parliament endorsed in June. The dzongkhag thromde’s delimitation was passed in accordance with the Constitution and is a law. Lyonchoen closed all doors when he said that the Constitution doesn’t allow change in boundaries for 10 years once it is passed.

The chairperson of the National Council reminded the same, but none of the members were interested to continue the discussions knowing that the law will not allow the boundary to change. If that is the case, what will the summer session of the Parliament in 2016 discuss? Worse still if the endorsed boundary fails to get the required majority votes.

If the law was clear, there was no need to defer the election or re-deliberate the Paro dzongkhag thromde issue.

The basis of the special committee’s recommendations sounds familiar. It was based on the need to enhance balanced development and focused on the need to uphold the ideology and principle of decentralization.  While the Constitution mandates dzongkhag thromdes and yenlag thromdes in every dzongkhags, the basis of having them was the same. Delimitation was done with the same objectives. The committee has successfully convinced the Parliament to bring an end to a protracted issue.

Local government elections will not be held on the same day in all 20 dzongkhag and yenlag thromdes. Deferring the election is not a big problem as getting a decision on the Paro dzongkhag thromde.

Unless people of Paro are convinced on the boundary that was already passed or members vote like yesterday in the next joint sitting, there is no reason to be happy.

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