Another deadlock?

Are we heading for another deadlock in the dzongkhag thromde quagmire? It seems so going by what is unfolding in Paro.

The Parliament already endorsed the Paro dzongkhag thromde boundary. People’s representatives from the dzongkhag presented their case before votes were cast. The Election Commission of Bhutan, based on the Parliament’s approval, issued the final delimitation order.

But now, all that seems not final. Local leaders and “prominent residents” are objecting. There is a petition waiting at the Speaker’s desk. A proposal to reconsider the boundary now seems eminent as local leaders have decided to do it through the tshogde or their member of Parliament.

The core issue is the loss of paddy land in fertile Paro valley. This is a strong reason. Paro valley is known for its lush green paddy fields. It is the first valley that tourists or foreigners notice as they land in the valley. It has all the reasons to awe visitors. Besides, we have a strong policy to protect wetland. If land is increasing being left fallow in some quarters of the country, those in use should be protected.

The flatland of Paro is the envy of many outside the dzongkhag. Much of it is still utilised for paddy, vegetables and winter crops although we see new structures popping up every year. If farmers want to be farmers and not urbanities, their interest should be looked into.

They are also many of the successful farmers with some venturing into business- construction, resort and many more. Some villages that would come under the thromde are better off than other proposed thromdes. What more would a thromde bring besides losing some rural incentives?

From what representatives (from effected gewogs) claim, decisions were made short of proper consultations. This gives people room to negotiate, as they know inclusive decision-making was missing. If they were not consulted, they would feel cheated.

A proper study to not derail the thromde election is what is called for. A best solution can be found if the issue is not politicised or a populist decision is avoided. More importantly, it will set precedence. The government will be overwhelmed with petitions if they give into pressures. Parliamentary decisions will lose weight if it can be overturned.

The simplest of issues could be politicised because of a few interest groups. This includes at the local government level. Those representing the people will have to learn to say no if they feel it is wrong. They were elected not to do them favours. It is easy to make the Parliament the scapegoat and escape the disapproval of the voters.

The government should be firm on rules or decisions passed. If the government felt it was wrong, it should have stopped when the Parliament discussed it. Opposition parties all over the world pick up on government mistakes. This will give them mileage.

It is not clear if the Parliament will discus it again. Should they bring it back, valid arguments must prevail.

2 replies
  1. Drukdra Drukpa
    Drukdra Drukpa says:

    The essence of economic self reliance is looked down by the politicians if their intention is to convert those lush green paddy field into concrete buildings. The parliament members has to be clear on on their say. Peoples concerns has to be addressed. The main voice against parliaments decision to integrate wangchang Gewog with Thromdey is because of a common concern shared by the farmers of getting their paddy fields destroyed as a result of Thromdey planning (urbanisation). However, if it is not about bringing development on those paddy fields where thousands of people depends on then it is a question of individual agenda. Local leaders might be in fear of losing their post and authority down the years. Therefore, one must not deny the fact that, be it members of parliament, local leaders or the peoples at the grass root level, we share a common concern of building a stronger and healthier nation for all times.

  2. irfan
    irfan says:

    Any loss of paddy fields of fertile Paro valley can be considered a bit of disturbing news. Many of the senior citizens of the country will probably agree that even Thimphu valley was known for its fertile lands once. The entire globe has noticed some of the negative developments that any urbanisation process brings along.

    If there are political questions involved, there are sociological enquiries to be addressed. Should a rural life only be restricted to paddy fields and village farmers? Both paddy fields and farmers are required, but agriculture as an all important industry has come a long way. Taxation policies can be revisited, but we all need food to survive. Is there a written book of laws that say no thromde can produce agricultural products or there can be no villages with urban like facilities for the people?

    I strongly feel that the way we have been drawing the lines between Rural and Urban needs to be changed as everything else has been changing really fast. It’s not only about politics and a few election. If urban education is no different from rural education, why have different roads for rural and urban! When vehicles are not categorised as ‘rural’ and ‘urban’, the debate should be between road or no road. Why our arguments are always on the compositions of materials to be used for the road surfaces, divided between rural and urban?

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