Visit: Merging the dzongkhag forestry sector with the divisional offices will not impact the quality and access to such services, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said after concerns were raised during his gewog meeting programme in Kawang gewog yesterday.

Lyonchoen said to be careful in alleging that consultations have not been made and that it would adversely impact the public.

Speaking at length to clarify on the matter, Lyonchoen said that the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) conducted an organisational development exercise as part of its reform before proposing the merger.

“It’s their mandate and not related at all with the government,” he said.

The RCSC is responsible for the consultations on this matter, which Lyonchoen said did occur during the OD exercises in the ministries and dzongkhags with the civil servants.

The commission after the OD exercise proposed to merge the dzongkhag forestry sector officials with divisional forestry offices.

The Cabinet had only approved its proposal with the belief that its recommendation was well researched and consultations were done, Lyonchoen said.

The government decision on supporting the move came from the fact that the officials would be still in the divisions and not in the head quarters in the capital.

Further, most of the services that these officials, who are now moved to the division offices from dzongkhags, provide are also available online through the government-to-citizen services of the Prime Minister’s Office.

He said that the government at the most could review whether these officials are needed in the dzongkhag and if it causes huge inconvenience to the people.

“There is no need to conduct further consultation as RCSC already did it,” he said.

He said that there were too many offices in the districts including 10 regional offices besides those in the ministry.

“Decentralisation does not mean wasting government’s money on setting up more offices than needed,” Lyonchoen said.

The essence of democracy is to provide easy access to quality services.

Another issue was on retaining geydrungs in the gewogs. A former tshogpa, Pirpon said that the geydrung or the gewog clerk is essential for a gewog to function properly.

There is no decision taken on the future of gewog clerks as yet, Lyonchoen said.

Lyonchoen met with the people of Mewang gewog in the morning.

He informed the people of development activities in health, education, agriculture, and issues related to the gewogs.

He said that a 40-bed hospital is being worked out for the 12th Plan in Dechencholing. A 60-bed hospital will replace the dilapidated hospital in Gidagom.

Villagers asked for farm road maintenance, a lhakhang in Patsi and Pungzhi, subsidised loans for small businesses, and upgradation of Kuzhugchen middle secondary school, among others.

One of the messages from the Prime Minister on every gewog meeting was that while the government will provide money for development and building infrastructure, people should take responsibility for minor repairs.

Lyonchoen has met the people of 108 gewogs so far.

Tshering Palden