Gakidling gup says the inconvenience will be eased with the coming of farm roads

LG: A constituency boundary cannot be altered before 10 years from the date of the issuance of its delimitation order.

The home and cultural affairs ministry has stated this in a reply to the National Council’s request to readjust the boundaries of Gakidling and Samar gewogs in Haa. The transfer of Sektena and Fentena villages from Samar gewog to Gakidling gewog in 2008 created inconveniences for the people there.

It takes about three days for the people of those two villages to reach the Gakidling gewog office. It takes only one day to reach the Samar gewog office.

The home ministry’s written response, which was issued recently, states that the people are facing inconveniences in accessing services from the Gakidling gewog office. The government took up the issue with the relevant agencies.

However, the ministry has also cited Chapter 5 of the Election Act 2008 for its inability to address the issue. The chapter states that the Delimitation Commission can “allocate and readjust” electoral constituencies only “after every ten years”.

Article 12(2) of the Constitution states, “The number of elected members from each Dzongkhag shall be reapportioned to reflect the changing registered voter population after every ten years, subject to the limitation of a minimum of two and a maximum of seven members from each Dzongkhag.”

The two villages were originally in the erstwhile Mayona gewog (now Duenchhukha) in Samtse. They were transferred to Gakidling gewog in 2006 along with the civil registries.

The villages have been delimited as one chiwog in Gakidling gewog.

The Samar Gup Tshewang Tandin said it would be convenient for the people to avail services if they were merged back with Samar gewog. “Because it takes three days for the people to reach Gakidling gewog office. Whereas it takes only a day to reach Samar gewog office from the two villages,” he said.

However, Gakidling Gup Nim Dorji said the people can travel faster to their gewog office as farm roads are coming to the gewog. He said there are 42 households in those villages.

“Some of the people fear that going back to Samar gewog would affect their census records. Many drop out cases may arise,” Nim Dorji said.

The issue has been brought up several times in gewog tshogde and dzongkhag tshogdu. Subsequently, the Council had in its last tenure passed a resolution calling upon the government to initiate the process to merge Sektena and Fentena village with Samar gewog.

A couple of years back, the issue was taken up with Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, who had assured that he would look into the matter, according to the Council. However, there was no further development on the matter since.

Repositioning of the villages entails alteration of the gewog boundary, and the Election Commission and Delimitation Commission in particular, have little to do with such a move. The delimitation commission can make changes in the demkhongs only after the gewog boundaries are resolved by Parliament.

“The onus is now upon the government to table the issue in Parliament for alteration of the gewog boundary,” the Council states. “Unless the government decides to table the issue for boundary change in the Parliament, their issue will not be resolved.”

MB Subba