The government’s decision to procure utility vehicles for 199 gewogs that have good enough road connectivity has ignited a national debate. It is imperative that we invite healthy discussions, especially when decisions concern development and economic impact that the country likely could confront.

What is important is that we do not distort the arguments based on party lines and agendas. It would be a sad commentary on our governance system if we failed to bring us together and summon the courage to listen to each other.

Finger-pointing and mud-slinging at the best will only render our debate meaningless. And therein lies the danger. Development initiatives should benefit our people and, more importantly, they should be sensible and sustainable.

The government’s decision is, in itself, not wholly unscrupulous. If the gewogs could have a utility vehicle that could be used in times of emergency, it is for the benefit of the people that the government is looking at. But is it the best option we are left with? And, have we set up necessary system of checks and balances?

People from certain quarters are asking for a thorough economic rationale behind executing such a policy decision that they argue will only prove to be unsustainable and eventually counterproductive. The argument is valid. When we are still grappling with the issue of misuse of government vehicles at the centre, what strategies are being planned or put in place to stop that from happening at the gewog level?

Collecting government pool vehicles to stop them from being misused and buying new ones do not much make sense. And there are those who are of the view that for an economy driven by aid money and import, recurring expenditure could become unmanageable in the future.

We believe that we still have time and space enough to deliberate and to arrive at a more sensible solution. For indeed, when we do earnest listening, prudent solutions aren’t very hard to come by.

It is important that campaign pledges do not become too expensive for the nation and the people.