LG leaders cry foul over thromde boundaries

Gewog administrations say the people were not consulted in the demarcation process 

 LG: Except for Tsirang dzongkhag thromde, the rest of the 14 dzongkhag thromdes had issues either with the names of the demkhongs (constituencies) or the government’s lack of consultation during the demarcation of thromde boundaries.

Election commission officials said they had a difficult time explaining to people during the delimitation exercise that the thromde boundaries  were  declared by the Parliament and that delimitation was about dividing the dzongkhag thromdes into demkhongs.

During the delimitation exercise, people in some thromdes shared with the commission that they were surprised and never consulted on some parts of their gewogs falling within the thromde boundary.

One such case is Wangtsa village in Katsho, Haa.

Katsho gup Chundu wrote to the election commission objecting the decision to include some parts of the gewog with the Haa thromde.

The gup said that the government never consulted the people and the local leaders when the thromde boundary was being drawn. “The people of Wangtsa were shocked and dismayed when they were called to brief on the decision to club the village with the dzongkhag thromde.”

As the chairman of the local government of Katsho gewog, he said, he wasn’t aware about what was discussed and decided between the election commission and the dzongkhag.

“The stakeholders were completely kept in the dark,” he said. “I feel innocent villagers should not be harassed.” he said.

He said he took the step to write to request the election commission and the Haa dzongkhag administration to reconsider the “undemocratic and arbitrary” decision to include Wangtsa village in the thromde.

The gewog administration has also written to the dzongkhag administration that the gewog administration did not receive any instruction from the dzongkhag on the issue of thromde.

Local leaders from Paro dzongkhag have written to the National Assembly Speaker about Wangchang gewog’s unhappiness in being clubbed with the dzongkhag thromde.

According to Phub Tshering, a vast area of paddy field would be affected by the decision and that the locals were not consulted before the decision was taken.

The declaration of the Dzongkhag Thromdes and Dzongkhag Yenlag Thromdes has changed boundaries of 34 gewogs and 56 chiwogs while one chiwog in Samkhar, Trashigang is now completely with the Thromde.

Election officials said that with the changed boundaries of the affected gewogs and chiwogs, there is now a need to realign the “leftover” parts of the gewogs and chiwogs either through a merger or a declaration of new gewogs.

However, National Assembly Speaker said if there were proposals from the people for changes, he said that it was the prerogative of the government to bring such proposals to the Parliament. “My work is to go by the proposal of the government and the dzongkhag tshogde,” he said.

Jigme Zangpo said that if there has to be any change they have to come through the cabinet. “We are a new democracy and such issues are bound to appear,” he said.

However, works and human settlement minister Dorji Choden said that the issues raised was to do with the delimitation commission.

But the election commission says that the delimitation commission does not have authority on the thromde boundary.

Meanwhile, the leader of opposition (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho said that ideally the changes in gewog boundaries should have been proposed together with the thromde plans.

“We raised in the parliament that the proposals were not ready but the government and the election commission forced it through literally, quoting that if we don’t support, we would be violating the Constitution,” he said. “I think that the Speaker should intervene and seek clarification from the Supreme Court on whether the ECB could unilaterally do away with a gewog.”

By  MB Subba

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