Choki Wangmo | Dagana

In what was intended as a reform in the local government (LG) in Dagana, the dzongkhag administration initiated internal transfer of gewog administration officers (GAOs).

The reform started before the third LG elections in the 11 gewogs in the dzongkhag. The three gewogs in Lhamoizingkha drungkhag are not included in the reform.

GAOs are, however, not happy with the transfer. One has tendered his resignation.

They alleged that despite repeated appeals to the dzongkhag administration for time extension until the end of this year for internal transfer, two office orders mandated that they should be in their new place of work by April end.

Some, however, couldn’t move to their new place of work even after six months since the first order was issued.

A GAO said according to the orders, he was relieved from his old place of work by April end but even after two weeks, he couldn’t join the new office as the gup did not relieve the old GAO.

“For two weeks, I stayed idle. There were some miscommunications too,” he said.

Another GAO who has served for nine years in a gewog has requested transfer in a different dzongkhag next year.

“Due to June closing, the work pressure at the gewog has increased and gups refused to relieve us as there are delays of getting new GAOs in case the old ones resign or get transferred to other dzongkhags,” a GAO said.

Due to various reasons such as resignation, change of jobs, and leaving abroad for studies, four out of 11 gewogs had been functioning without GAOs for some time.

“With such decisions, the continuity at work is affected,” a GAO said.

Some were newly posted in their position and place of work.

A GAO who has been serving in his position for two years said that he did not fail to carry out the responsibilities. “Earlier, all of us received individual office orders from the administration. It was surprising,” he said.

Another said they were threatened that if they failed to follow the order, they will be dealt according to the Bhutan Civil Service Rules (BCSR). “But the rule mandates that a civil service has to serve a minimum of three years in a particular position and the directives did not follow the BCSR.”

However, this rule doesn’t apply to contract employees.

A GAO, who has served for more than 30 years, tendered his resignation recently.

He said that his child required special care and frequent hospital visits which his new workplace would affect due to longer distance. “I appealed to the administration but wasn’t given a choice.”

He said that if the Department of Local Governance issued transfer orders next year, the internal transfer by the dzongkhag administration would be invalid. “Without transfer grants, we can’t move from one place to another twice a year. It is costly.”

He said that even the gup appealed on his behalf many times but the dzongkhag administration refused to change the decision.

Out of 11 GAOs, three are regular while others are on contract. Two GAOs out of the 11 weren’t part of the internal transfers.

An official from the dzongkhag administration said that the move was part of overall reforms in the dzongkhag that would ensure balanced gewog development by balancing the competency and capacity of LGs.