Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

With a lot of Covid-19 protocols lifted and the nation progressing into a new normal era, people must change the way they think and do their work, according to the Prime Minister (PM).

Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said this while meeting gewog officials in Samdrupjongkhar.

He spent a day each in every gewog in the dzongkhag.

Lyonchhen also said that since the local government (LG) officials work close to the people, it’s important to revisit the plans and programmes on the ground to ensure they align with the national priorities.

He said the planning must be effective and relevant to the time and need and for that to happen, they need accurate data. “It’s only LG members who can give the authentic as well as real-time statistics.”

The Prime Minister said LG members are responsible to explore new ideas and promote innovative programmes that will contribute to the prosperity of the villages, gewogs and people.

He said block grants have been introduced to empower LG members so that they could invest in inventive programmes, promote the local economy and employ young people in the villages.

“While there are concerns on the low budget utilisation in the LGs, we know it was because of the pandemic and local government election,” he said. “But now, we cannot waste our time.”

The Prime Minister also said since LG members are there to support people, they must come forward with ideas and proposals that are well researched and sustainable. “Access to finance as well as the market are some of the key areas we can work together.”

He claimed that he is not in the gewogs for ceremonies or sightseeing. “I am here to resolve issues immediately. I would also work with concerned agencies if there are broader issues that need review or consultation.” 

Meanwhile, LG leaders said they are happy that the Prime Minister is there to discuss issues in the gewogs at the start of their tenure.

They said gewogs could not implement many development activities because of a lack of budget and pandemic.

“Since most of the gewog centre (GC) roads are damaged and are in bad conditions, we expect the government to support us with budget to maintain the GC roads and to carry out other developmental activities,” a gup said.