LG: With fifty-two gewogs not having geydrungs (gewog clerks) today, gups want the government to reinstate the clerks as soon as possible.

This issue was discussed during the second day of the ongoing ninth Local Government Chairpersons’ Conference (LGCC) in Phuentsholing yesterday.

The issue was included in the agenda because several gewogs had submitted the issue for discussion at the conference.

Langchenphu gup, Guman Singh Gaylal from Samdrupjongkhar said that either the gewogs should be allowed to recruit their own geydrungs or the government must provide geydrungs as soon as possible.

He said that his gewog office has been without a geydrung since July last year. The Langchenphu geydrung contested in the last Local Government (LG) election in 2016 and the post has remained vacant since then.

Thangrong gup, Changa, of Mongar is also not happy that the post of geydrung is not yet finalised despite most gups requesting for the clerk.

“Our office also needs a geydrung,” Changa said. “I am not good at computer skills and the geydrung used to help before.”

However, Changa’s concern is that nothing was done despite him writing three letters to the dzongkhag on the problem. “Nothing happened,” he said.

Gewogs such as Dumtey, Norgaygang, Yoeseltse, and Ugyentse do not have geydrungs today. The geydrungs of many gewogs left their posts to contest in the LG elections. It is mostly these gewogs that do not have geydrungs today.

Dumtey gup, Damber Singh Rai, said they have unofficially recruited a geydrung for now. Through contributions, the unofficial geydrung is paid, the gup said.

Gelephu gup, Ugyen Wangchuk, said geydrungs are important in a gewog office. “At times when both the gup and mangmi are engaged, we have to lock our offices,” he said.

Meanwhile, officials from the Department of Local Governance (DLG) said they are aware and equally concerned about the issue.

“Your concern is our concern,” DLG director general Lungten Dorji said to the gups, adding that incumbent geydrungs were still allowed to continue, despite their terms expiring.

However, sooner or later, the 153 incumbent geydrungs will have to retire as their contracts expired with the conclusion of the LG elections in September 2016. Incumbent class 10 graduate geydrungs will also have to retire by any means.

This will come into action once DLG’s proposal to mainstream the geydrung position into the civil service is implemented as required by the LG Act.

Director general Lungten Dorji said the department has recently submitted a proposal to the Cabinet in regards to geydrungs and their job prospects. Once the Cabinet approves the proposal, it will then be submitted to the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC).

If the commission approves DLG’s proposal currently with Cabinet, geydrungs will be appointed on “consolidated contracts” in accordance with the Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulations (BCSR). A geydrung would be entitled to an S5 position level and would require a minimum qualification of class 12.

Under this contract, geydrungs would not be entitled to annual increments, contract allowances, extra ordinary and other kinds of leave.

Although the requirement for geydrungs emerged in 2011, the issue also developed after the recommendation to phase out the post following an RCSC organisational development (OD) exercise. The RCSC is of the view that the responsibilities of geydrungs are now carried out by gewog administrative officers (GAOs) and accountants.

However, 14 gewogs also do not have GAOs today. DLG officials said that they have already floated vacancies for these vacant posts.

These GAOs will also be recruited on consolidated contracts. The new recruits will fall under P5B level equivalent to S1 level as per the BCSR. The contract is for two years and a maximum of three years.

DLG director general Lungten Dorji said the vacant GAO seats will be filled in the next two to three months.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing