Thinley Namgay  

Local government officials could decide matters related to temples that are 10 or 20 years old and not built by extraordinary people.

Home Minister Ugyen Dorji said in the National Assembly yesterday while responding to Chumey-Ura’s member of Parliament (MP) Karma Wangchuk.

The MP asked what the government is doing to expedite the process to renovate lhakangs.

He said while there is no issue in the renovation of dratshang, goendey or shedra registered under zhung dratshang, there are many community and private lhakhangs.

MP Karma Wangchuk said some lhakhangs that are small in the past had to be extended today. “People also have to repair walls and roofs, but it is difficult to get approval from the ministry.”

According to the minister, the Department of Culture registered 230 lhakhangs that are constructed in 10 to 20 years and they are registering about 500 other lhakhangs.

He said local governments could also grant permission to build other amenities around the temple without consulting the ministry.

Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji said permission should be given within 30 days to construct a lhakhang and a week for renovation. “Dzongkhag culture officers were recently trained in Thimphu.”

Meanwhile, the existing process for lhakhang construction and renovation includes communities or individuals first request the gewog, then the dzongkhag and the ministry.

The ministry further reviews the application and approves or rejects the proposal.

The home ministry received  300 applications for lhakhang renovation in 2021 and rejected 26 applications.