Construction of Lingzhi Dzong deferred to 12th Plan

MTR: Human resource shortage and inadequate budget were two major challenges for the home ministry in meeting its 11th Plan goals, officials reported during its mid-term review yesterday.

These are the main reasons for the Department of Culture to push the renovation of Lingzhi Dzong, which was a priority activity as a project tied assistance in this Plan to the 12th Plan. Of the Nu 200 million required for the project, only Nu 50M was allotted in this Plan.

As of yesterday, Pemagatshel Dzong construction has completed 50 percent, while of the Nu 1 billion (B), Nu 126 million (M) was spent on the Wangdue Dzong reconstruction.

“We’ve also completed designs and drawings to start the construction works of Sarpang Dzong,” an official from culture department, Nagtsho Dorji said.

During prioritisation the Lingzhi Dzong received only Nu 50M. The Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) agreed to take it up as a top priority activity in the next plan, Nagtsho Dorji said.

The Nu 1B Wangdue Dzong project in the 11th Plan was reduced to Nu 500M at a recent project management committee held with Indian counter parts. Should the project need more budget, the government would provide, the Prime Minister who chaired the meeting said.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said given the significance of the projects alternatives have to be sought. He asked the ministry and GNHC to write to the Royal Civil Service Commission for additional engineers and architects.

“I will also convey to RCSC as to how important they are for the works,” Lyonchoen said.

Giving the works on contract and using the staff and graduates of College of Science and Technology for drawings and designs were suggested as likely options for the department to consider.

Saying it may not be possible to spend the Drugyal Dzong reconstruction budget of Nu 500M in two and a half years, Lyonchoen proposed to slash the budget to Nu 300.

“If works go smoothly and progress is good, then we’ll talk when the works are nearing completion,” Lyonchoen said.

Disaster management department could prepare disaster management plans for Thimphu and Paro only against a target of 20 dzongkhags in the 11th Plan. The department asked to reduce the target to six dzongkhags in this Plan given the lack funds and technical expertise.

Immigration department reported acute shortage of inspectors and staff at the border gates and the international airport counters.

Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay asked the immigration director to submit a separate proposal on the human resource needs.

Home secretary Dasho (Dr) Sonam Tenzin said that six sector result areas and of 34 targets, 13 have been achieved and 17 were on track as of June last year.

The ministry reported a spending rate of 60.72 percent against the outlay of the budget at the four and half hour meet that skipped the tea break.

The immigration department sought the government’s approval to convert more than Nu 6M non-revenue security deposits, collected from individuals who brought in foreign workers more than three years ago but still remains unclaimed, to its revenue.

“Despite our repeated notifications those who deposited the security deposits have not collected the amount,” immigration department Director General Thinley Wangchuk said.

Finance secretary Lham Dorji said while the reprioritization was approved in principle the agencies will be allotted budget according to their ceilings.

Prime Minister asked the home ministry to submit proposals to delink the fire division from the Royal Bhutan Police as the ministry officials proposed during the meeting.

Tshering Palden