Chimi Dema   

The National Assembly rejected the motion to include farm shops, power tiller services, fuel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) depots and community information centres (CICs) under gewog administration.

Bardo-Trong Member of Parliament Gyambo Tshering moved the motion in the House yesterday saying it would improve service delivery.

Submitting the motion, the MP said that in an effort to benefit rural residents and boost development, the former government has established 202 farm shops, 64 fuel and LPG depots and 205 CICs as well as provided power tiller services.

However, these services have not been used to the optimum, he said.

This, according to him, was because the farm shops which are currently under Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited did not serve the vital purpose to the farmers despite its objective.

The MP said that the farm shops sell only groceries, but do not have farm machinery, tools and agricultural seeds that the farmers need. In addition, many of the shops have not implemented the Buy-Back Policy, as pledged by the government.

He also attributed the ineffective service delivery to poor maintenance of the power tillers and higher fees charged for its use.

“The recent notification of the government to place the power tillers under the dzongkhag further aggravates the problem,” the MP said.

Going by the Annual Report 2019, fuel and LPG depots were established in 64 gewogs but without people getting the services, he said that it was such a waste of resources. ”The decision to retain CICs under Bhutan Development Bank Limited has impeded service delivery to the public.”

Given the challenges, Gyambo Tshering called for a Standard Operating Procedure and consolidating all these facilities under the gewog administration. He said that stationing all these services at one place would be convenient and would ensure efficient and quality service delivery to people in the remote areas.

While members acknowledged that the issue was pertinent, many of them were of the view that bringing facilities under gewogs would hinder efficient service delivery considering the absence of adequate human resource, technical expertise and other resources at the gewog level.

The members also said that further assessment needs to be done to study the feasibility.

With only 18 members out of 41 present favouring the motion, the NA did not endorse it.