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The proposal to promote tourism in the east was shared at the party’s convention 

To promote tourism in the east, the government is set to waive off the daily royalty of USD 65 a day a tourist during their stay in the eastern dzongkhags.

The royalty, now known as sustainable development fee, is levied in addition to the minimum daily tariff of USD 200 during lean season and USD 250 during the peak season.

Speaking at the party’s national convention held at the Youth Development Fund hall on November 12, education minister Norbu Wangchuk informed that the proposal would be tabled in the upcoming session of the Parliament, which begins on November 15.

“Tourists visiting eastern dzongkhags need not pay the daily fee of USD 65 once the proposal comes through,” he said. The government, he said, hopes that the proposed measure would accelerate development of tourism sector in the region.

The education minister, who is the MP from Kanglung_Samkhar_Udzorong in Trashigang, said that only about two percent of tourists that come to Bhutan visit the six eastern dzongkhags.

The government has promised to ensure that 20 percent of tourists visit eastern dzongkhags to promote uniform distribution of economic benefits from the sector.  

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said the industry’s growth continues to be concentrated only within the dzongkhags that are traditionally tourist-rich.

With eight months left for the government’s term in office, the convention also saw the government’s performance being highlighted.

The education minister said that most of the campaign promises to eastern dzongkhags, including establishment of three colleges and construction of an airport at Yonphula in Trashigang, have been fulfilled.

One of the major works to fast track the development of eastern dzongkhags was the widening of the east-west highway, which he said is nearing completion. “Now we can reach eastern dzongkhags in a day unlike before when it took two days,” he said.

He claimed that the government has reduced non-hydro loans although hydropower loans have increased significantly during the past four years. “The fact that hydropower loans have increased shows that the government has accelerated the works,” he said.

According to him, non-hydro loans has decreased to Nu 34 billion (B) now from Nu 40B in 2013. Hydropower loans have increased to Nu 94.7B from Nu 54B in 2013.

The education minister claimed that the government has provided more than Nu 1.7B in electricity subsidy to more than 100,000 households. He also claimed that the government distributed 800 power tillers to various gewogs.

The launch of helicopter services, he said, was one of the major highlights of the achievements despite some criticism. A total of Nu 99.7 million (M) has been spent to date in airlifting 250 patients out of whom 53 died, he said.

On the pending issues, information and communications minister and MP for Phuentshogpelri Samtse constituency, DN Dhungyel said that a nationwide cadastral survey has been completed and lagthrams or land ownership certificates are being distributed.

He said land kidu and lagthrams are being granted in Samtse, Sarpang, Tsirang and Dagana. Lagthrams, he said, are granted for fine plots, meaning plots that do not have pending issues.

“If there are issues related to land, there is a tradition of seeking kidu,” he suggested.

According to him, the National Land Commission has issued a total of 8,570 lagthrams in Samtse, 9,046 in Sarpang, 3,659 in Tsirang and 8,164 in Dagana dzongkhags.

Lyonpo DN Dhungyel also highlighted that His Majesty has granted a total of 17,650 census kidu, which includes 8,375 dropout cases.

He said that it was important for the people to learn from past cases and not to repeat the mistakes committed by those facing census problems. He advised people not to marry foreign nationals to avoid census problems.

MB Subba

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