Gewog boundaries, however, will remain same

Delimitation: New chiwogs will be carved out in the two gewogs affected by the demarcation of Paro dzongkhag thromde boundaries to ensure Wangchang and Hoongrel remain as gewogs.

A gewog should have a minimum of five chiwogs as per the local government  Act. Hoongrel and Wangchang gewogs had five chiwogs each, but most parts of them have become a part of the thromde.

Home minister Damcho Dorji said that gewog boundaries need not be changed. In the Paro’s case, he said the chiwogs would become smaller and the delimitation commission may have to carve out new chiwogs within the new gewog boundaries.

Lyonpo also clarified that there is no need for the government to carry out another round of boundary demarcation exercise for the affected gewogs. “We have done our part during the thromde boundary demarcation exercise,” he said.

The dzongkhag thromde and yenlag thromde boundaries have changed boundaries of 34 gewogs and 56 chiwogs. Hoongrel and Wangchang gewogs are the most affected.

The Chief Election Commissioner, Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said, the new delimitation commission that will be in place soon, will realign the boundaries of all the affected chiwogs. “Works have been done, and the delimitation commission will have to sit and approve the plans,” he said.

Representatives from the Paro dzongkhag tshogdu are expected to appeal against the thromde boundaries. But the Parliament is not likely to reconsider its decision.

National Assembly’s deputy speaker Chhimi Dorji, who led a team of officials to study the thromde issues in Paro recently, said the Parliament’s decision should be final and that there will be no changes. “Once the Parliament endorses a decision, it is final,” he said.

However, a member of Parliament from Paro, requesting anonymity, said Wangchang and Hoongrel gewogs will still remain as gewogs. He said the delimitation exercise would have to be carried out soon, as the second local government elections for gewogs are due mid next year.

Each of the three chiwogs in Hoongrel has been reduced to a tiny portion with only two chiwogs not affected. Hoongrel gup Sangay said the status of the gewog has become questionable with most parts falling under the thromde.

Samkhar gewog in Trashigang has also lost one of its chiwogs to the thromde. However, its status has not been affected as the gewog still has five chiwogs intact.

The gewog’s gup Sonam Dorji said the people were happy to be included in the thromde.

Speaker Jigme Zangpo in an earlier interview said that the issue should be looked by the home ministry first as it’s regarding the local governance. He said he would proceed with the issue when there is a proposal in the house.

Meanwhile, on the disgruntlement of the local leaders of Katsho gewog in Haa, the chief election commissioner has said that the delimitation commission found these issues to be beyond its mandate.

In a reply to the Katsho gup’s petition, the CEC wrote, “The commission is not in position to take any action other than advise the constituents to abide by the decision of the Parliament while pursuing the matter through a proper channel with the government.”

MB Subba