Thinley Namgay 

To ensure tourism developments reach to all dzongkhags, the National Assembly in its second parliament session passed the resolution to open five additional entry and exit points for tourists in the southern border.

The resolution states that the government would open entry and exit points for tourists at Samdrupjongkhar, Gelephu, Samtse, Nganglam, and Panbang. However, even after a year, the endorsed decision was still not implemented and Phuentsholing remains the only entry point for regional tourists to travel into the country by road.

Dewathang-Gomdar’s Member of Parliament (MP), Ugyen Dorji, questioned Home and Cultural Affairs Minister, Sherub Gyeltshen at the National Assembly yesterday on why it was delayed.

Lyonpo Sherub Gyeltshen said that the government is still working on it.

“Although it is an endorsed decision, before implementing it, we have to do the proper studies on its impact. We are also framing a proper tourism policy to regulate the decision.”

“Just by focussing on the present benefits may lead to a challenging situation in the future. We have discussed with the relevant agencies on how to work on it,” Lyonpo said.

MP Ugyen Dorji also asked the minister to clarify on security issues regarding the opening of tourists’ entry points. “People are questioning me during constituency visits. When I say that it was delayed due to security issues, it does not seem a satisfying answer to the people.”

Home Minister said that he doesn’t have anything to say on international tourist. However, Lyonpo said the growing number of regional tourists is worrisome. He also cited few examples on increasing tourists at Punakha dzong, Paro Taktshang and Changangkha Lhakhang.

Meanwhile, Bumdeling- Jamkhar MP Dupthob asked the Information and Communications minister to clarify on when the government would fulfil its pledge on free Wi-Fi.

The government pledged to provide free Wi-Fi to the people.

Information and Communications minister Karma Donnen Wangdi said the rationale behind free Wi-Fi is to access the services provided by the government through online. Other objectives according to the minister were to access important information on time and to ease the communication among the people.

Lyonpo said that recognising the importance of ICT in the 21st century, the government is working on a comprehensive ‘Digital Drukyul Flagship Programme’ in the current 12th Plan.

“ICT is developing in the country and different organisations have different information management system.  We want to combine all these systems through this flagship programme and provide efficient services to the people.  Free Wi-Fi and Suungjoen will be clubbed together under this flagship programme,” he said.