Chhimi Dema 

The issue of Haa Dzong resurfaced in the Parliament yesterday when National Council member from Haa asked the Home Minister Sherub Gyeltshen what the government plans to do on reinstating the Dzong as the central administration and religious centre for Haa Dzongkhag. 

MP Ugyen Namgay said that while the people acknowledged the importance of IMTRAT, dzongs host the religious and administrative bodies and invoke sentiment of pride for people living in the dzongkhag.

“Haa Wangchuck Lo Dzong is the only dzong in the country which the dzongkhag administration was unable to use,” said MP Ugyen Namgay.

IMTRAT temporarily occupied the dzong in 1962 to address the lack of structures for accommodation during militia training.

MP Ugyen Namgay said that the issue of Haa Dzong was raised in several National Assembly sessions since 1980.

“While this issue has been raised seven times in the Parliament, the government has so far not confirmed whether there has been any dialogue with IMTRAT and if a strategy has been formulated to return the dzong,” he said.

Home Minister Sherub Gyeltshen said that he acknowledged and shared the same concerns as people of Haa.

Lyonpo Sherub Gyeltshen said, “IMTRAT’s occupancy of the Dzong is temporary.”

“The relics in the Wangchuck Lo Dzong belong to the state, and the land is registered under the Royal Bhutan Army’s thram,” Lyonpo said. “In the Dzong’s utse (or the central tower) the rites and rituals are performed by the Zhung Dratshang.”

On the same concern, Gasa MP Dorji Khandu asked the Lyonpo if the government monitors the construction of permanent structures in the premise and walls built around the dzong.

Lyonpo said that it was only natural for such organisation to built structures and walls for security reasons.

In 2014, during a Question Hour session in the same House, the government said that IMTRAT and Royal Bhutan Army were willing to move out of the dzong if the government facilitates a new location for occupancy.

MP Dorji Khandu asked the Lyonpo to update on the issue.

Lyonpo said that the previous government might have not pursued it thinking that facilitating a different location leads to the construction of more permanent structures incurring huge expenses.