…says works and human settlement minister but whether all elections will be held at once will depend on the ECB

NA: A budget of Nu 2 billion is allocated for municipality development activities in the 20 dzongkhag thromdes, the works and human settlement minister Dorji Choden said.

During the mid-term review, an additional Nu 130M (million) was allocated to meet the immediate requirements to set up the 16 new dzongkhag and yenlag thromdes.

The proposal, lyonpo said has been submitted to the Gross National Happiness Commission.

Lyonpo Dorji Choden was responding to Dremetse-Ngatsang Member of Parliament, Ugyen Wangdi, who sought clarification, on the cost of establishing the 16 new thromdes and conducting elections at a go, during the question hour at the National Assembly yesterday.

Lyonpo Dorji Choden said, Nu 80M of the Nu 130M has been allocated for the development of 16 new dzongkhag thromdes while the remaining Nu 50M is allocated for 10 yenlag thromdes, which do not have developmental plans at the moment.

She said that although the thromdes were recently declared; the existing municipalities in the dzongkhags have already begun development works.

Lyonpo said at least 134 technical and 24 general staff would be required for the 16 new dzongkhag thromdes.

Khar-Yurung MP Zangley Dukpa further sought clarification from the minister on whether the ministry would be able to set up all 16 new thromdes at a go.

“Whether we’ll be able to set up all thromdes or not depends on Election Commission of Bhutan,” she said. “But the government is however financially stable to conduct thromde elections.”

Panbang MP Dorji Wangdi cautioned the minister that having a proper human settlement policy before setting up thromde or working out the Local Area Plans was crucial.  He said the problem with Paro thromde emerged because of lack of a human settlement policy.

Boomdeling-Jamkhar MP, Dupthob asked lyonpo Dorji Choden for an update on the status of the Khonlongchu hydroelectric project in relation to its benefit for the people of new Khitshang throm in Trashiyangtse.

He said without clear directives from the government on the project, people are worried. Locals of Khitshang are expecting that their houses in the new town would be hired by the project for residential and office use.

Lyonpo Dorji Choden said the government has constructed roads for the new throm and drinking water supply will be provided soon.

“We’ve come to an understanding with the project that they will occupy 200 units of apartments in the new thromde. Three units each from all residents will be hired,” she said adding that the project will also financially help locals construct houses.

The dzongkhag administration has planned a joint Salang Tendrel for all plot owners in the new town on December 13.

Nirmala Pokhrel