The opposition had earlier expressed skepticism over its feasibility

Thromde: The opposition party will support the proposal to establish dzongkhag thromdes and yenla thromdes in twenty dzongkhags in the upcoming session of parliament despite skepticism from some quarters.

Works and human settlement minister Dorji Choden will present the boundaries of dzongkhag thromdes and yenla thromdes in the National Assembly (NA) on June 3.

The motion comes after the last session of parliament abolished the classification of dzongkhag thromdes as class A thromde and class B thromde through the amendment of the Local Government Act, 2008. The new Act treats all the dzongkhag thromdes as equal, unlike before.

The opposition Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) had earlier opposed the idea of establishing thromdes and yenla thromdes in every dzongkhag saying some of them would not be feasible.

The opposition leader (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho said that the government pushed the amendment calling for the establishment of dzongkhag and yenla thromdes for all dzongkhags despite the opposition party’s concerns. “Now that the Bill has been passed there is no point going back,” he said.

He added that since the  local government act has been amended it has to be implemented. “I hope that the government has carried out feasibility study of the thromdes,” he said.

Lyonpo Dorji Choden said that dzongkhag headquarters are already functioning and that the establishment of thromdes and yenla thromdes is just a process of strengthening the dzongkhag centres.

National Assembly Speaker Jigme Zangpo said that  the establishment of thromdes was a step towards fulfilling the constitutional mandate. “The proposal will be put in the NA and then to the National Council (NC),” he said.

Once the boundaries are complete, speaker Jigme Zangpo said that it will be the responsibility of the election commission to delimitate the constituencies.

Asked if the government has carried out a feasibility study on the thromdes and yenla thromdes, lyonpo Dorji Choden said that all dzongkhags including Gasa will have satellite towns. “The proposal in the parliament is to have dzongkhag thromdes and yenla thromdes for all 20 dzongkhags,” she said.

Despite the varying sizes of thromdes that will be carved out, the speaker said that all 20 thrompons will enjoy equal status and facilities as the law treats them equally. “We have 20 dzongdags and we have nothing like small or big dzongdags,” he said. “Similarly, all 205 gups enjoy equal status and entitlements irrespective of the size of their gewogs,” he said.

With the establishment of thromdes, he added that the government will be able to pursue balanced development and curb migration of people to the capital.

Article 22 (2) of the Constitution prescribes that the country should have local governments in all the dzongkhags comprising the dzongkhag tshogdu, gewog tshogde and thromde tshogde.

Asked if the establishment of thromdes merit immediate implementation, speaker Jigme Zangpo said that once parliament passes the law it depends on the executive to implement, depending on the availability of resources. “Laws are enacted looking at future and if there are some disagreements they can be discussed,” he said. “It’s a long process,” he added.

The works and human settlement ministry has also presented the report to the natural resources and environment committee (NREC) of the NC on various aspects of thromdes. The presentation also included maps of the proposed thromdes, total area of each thromde, boundary description and demography.

The members of the NREC sought clarifications on the viability of some of the thromdes proposed, suitability of location, tax related issues, criteria considered for the nomination of dzongkhag and yenla thromdes, and delimitation.

The NREC was in the process of reviewing the bifurcation and rationalisation of gewogs and had conducted its initial meeting with the ministry

Meanwhile, some quarters of society are of the view that instituting thromdes in all 20 dzongkhags does not merit immediate implementation as the Constitution does not prescribe the time for their implementation.

Some MPs argue that the government cannot deprive a dzongkhag of its constitutional right to have a thromde. A member of parliament said that if the government delays the establishment of thromdes any further, development will be concentrated only on those dzongkhags with thromdes. “Establishment of yenla thromde each in every dzongkhag will help us in the long run,” he said.

By MB Subba