MTR: The Opposition Party has claimed that the government’s 11th Plan mid-term review reports are misleading, distorted and inflated.

Citing an example, the Opposition Leader said the mid-term review report of Bumthang showed that it had produced 1.96 million balls of cheese, 74 metric tonnes (MT) of butter, 2,067MT of milk, and 1,012MT of wheat in 2015.

The mean annual household income from livestock products alone for 2015 was Nu 488,440, which is a 180 percent increase from 2010.

He said between 2010 and 2015, cheese production had jumped by 1,012 percent. He said this is impossible because cattle in the dzongkhag was hit by a foot and mouth disease outbreak.

The National Centre for Animal Health reported that a foot and mouth disease outbreak did occur in Chhokhor village in Bumthang in March 2014, this newspaper found. A total of five animals were affected the centre reported.

“Did they increase the area under cultivation or use some magic seeds to produce so much,” he said.

“If in one year a dzongkhag produces such amount then the country need not import at all but that is not the case. Thus we need to question these achievements,” the Opposition Leader said. “We can’t simply believe what’s reported, we have to review the collection, analysis, and processing of the data.”

The production rate of wheat in the country is 1.5MT an acre, according to the Opposition Leader, which is not high enough to produce the amount of wheat produced in Bumthang as reported by the government.

South Thimphu’s Member of Parliament (MP) Yeshey Zimba said with increasing incidences of human wildlife conflicts and lack of irrigation water sources, more fields were becoming fallow every year.

“The government’s priorities are misplaced and instead of overachievement it is gross underachievement,” Panbang MP Dorji Wangdi said.

“Cereal and vegetable production are not the real priorities of the people or what brought this party to rule,” Dorji Wangdi said.

Roads, health, and education are what people need, he said. Members said the government had promised black-topping of gewog connectivity roads but the first one to be black topped in Riju, Trashigang still remains to be completed.

Black-topping of the gewog road is only one-inch thick which is as good as not black-topping the roads, they pointed out.

“When the previous government built farm roads the opposition made so much noise that it was not all-weather road,” the Opposition Leader said.

“But now their GC roads are not all-weather or all-vehicle roads,” the Opposition Leader said, criticising the government for asking people not to allow heavy vehicles on the GC roads.

Other members called the reports an eye wash or feel good reports.

Some members claimed that the maternal mortality and infant mortality rates are relapsing and more than 400,000 people were deprived of safe drinking water.

“Regional hospitals are without basic equipment and female nurses in basic health units are still lacking,” MP Dorji Wangdi said.

Opposition members also said while the budget for those activities approved by Parliament has been diverted or cancelled, many ad hoc development activities have been implemented at the behest of some Cabinet ministers.

“Some development activities were dropped for lack of budget but there is budget for ad hoc activities which we don’t understand,” Dorji Wangdi said.

The government has provided power tillers for the gewogs but most of them are lying in the gewog office in absence of proper guidelines for its use.

They said this kind of reporting is dangerous to be taken as the baseline for planning future development activities.

The Prime Minister has visited each dzongkhag for the mid-term review and recently completed the entire review process.

Agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji said that he has to see the Opposition Party’s report before commenting.

“I first need to understand their reasoning in order to comment,” Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said.

 By Tshering Palden