Governance: After calling it a “Committee Government” during the last session of Parliament, the Opposition has now branded the government indecisive, inconsistent, and incoherent.
Criticising several decisions of the government, Opposition Party members accused it of damaging public trust and confidence in the government at a press conference on April 27.
Opposition members said the government taking a decision and reversing it no sooner than it was implemented has become a trend and a costly one.
Opposition members said before implementing a policy or taking a decision, the government should consider if it would fulfil the aspirations of His Majesty The King, for the country, and the welfare of the people.
“Once the government implements a policy there is no turning back,” Member of Parliament from Khar-Yurung, Zanglay Dukpa said. “This is not the case today.”
On the government’s decision on issues of taxi drivers, they said it was a total failure.
They said the government launched a taxi verification token to prevent civil servants from driving taxis. Those failing to avail of the token within the deadline were imposed a penalty of Nu 6,000.
Before the token decision was implemented properly, the taxi operating permit was issued, forcing the taxi drivers to write the name of the dzongkhags their taxis were registered in on the vehicle and limiting their business within the respective dzongkhags, Opposition members pointed out.
“When the taxi operating permit did not work, the government said it would return the fines it collected for defaulting on the token and also relax the TOP,” MP Zanglay Dukpa said.
Such indecision and inconsistency would cause difficulties for the civil servants doing the actual work, he said.
“After the public has elected the party to power it cannot waste time on research and experimenting,” Opposition Leader Pema Gyamtsho said.
The adverse impact of such inconsistent practice could be both short and long term, it was pointed out.
“We’ve to ask about the dent on the nation and the public exchequer as a result of such decisions,” the Opposition Leader said.
“Our concern is; will the public continue to have trust and confidence in the government after this one completes its term,” MP Zanglay Dukpa said.
“It’s very important for any government to ensure the confidence of the people in the government,” he said.
Experimenting on governance is costly not only in terms of money but also losing the trust of people.
The Takshasili quarry take over bid by the government to allocate it to the Punatsangchhu hydroelectric project II to fulfil its contractual obligation was another typical case of the government’s trial and error approach to governance, the Opposition provided.
“The government attitude is: Lets try this out and if people make noise we will reverse it,” Zanglay Dukpa said.
He said the government quickly withdrew the decision to take over the private quarry following a public uproar and Opposition protest on the decision.
The Opposition members said that the government came to power on the promise that they will not borrow or pre-finance any development activities.
“But now more than Nu 1 billion has been paid for pre-financing of works,” he said.
The local government entitlements have been shrouded in confusion with ministers giving different views, they said.
Lamgong Wangchang MP Khandu Wangchuk said for a small country, a strong and decisive government is essential for the country’s image and progress.
“The government has to decide with lots of considering, lots of factors, and once decided it should not turn back,” he said. “Otherwise, it risks losing the trust and confidence of the people which is dangerous for a small nation like ours,” he added.
Opposition members said momo and thukpa vendors were unnecessarily stopped from doing business.
“After a few parties and the vendors protested, the government allowed it even attending the inaugural ceremony of the stalls,” Khandu Wangchuk said.
The Paro Taktshang visiting closure on Tuesdays was another inconsistent decision of the government they said.
They pointed out that the home secretary wrote to the dzongkhag in February appreciating the decision of the tshogdu to close the sacred place on Tuesdays for maintenance and cleaning and asked to implement it from April. On March 9, the home minister issued a notice to postpone the closure.
“Such decisions of the government paints itself as an indecisive and weak government,” Khandu Wangchuk said.
Opposition members said there is a lack of seriousness in the government before taking its decisions.
“Consistency and coherence is must for a government,” the Opposition Leader said.