DT will request Parliament to revisit the issue on the dzongkhag thromde

LG: Following extensive deliberations on the yenlag thromde, the Paro dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) yesterday decided Jitsiphu in Tsento gewog as the yenlag thromde.

This was decided through majority votes where Tsento gewog secured 10 of the 17 votes.

As four gups wanted the yenlag thromde in their gewogs, the DT resolved to vote. The options were Dogar, Naja, Shaba and Tsento gewogs. Dogar and Naja secured three votes each, Shaba secured one while the rest went for Tsento. There were 17 local leaders present.

DT chairman, Lamgong gup Phub Tshering said they received a letter on August 31 from the works and human settlement ministry to propose the yenlag thromde.

Dogar gup Lhab Tshering proposed Dawakha as the yenlag thromde reasoning that the place has more scope for expansion, as it was centrally located.

Similarly, Shaba mangmi Chencho Gyetshen said that Shaba should be the yenlag thromde as proposed initially. “When Bondey was proposed as the yenlag thromde, we’re told that given the proximity of the location, Shaba would be equally benefited,” he said.

Some local leaders said that as the Parliament during the thromde boundary declaration in its last session did not endorse Jitsiphu, Wanakha or Betena, they should now look beyond these gewogs.

Tsento gup Chencho argued that if the government’s vision of equal distribution of economic opportunities was to be fulfilled, they should opt for Tsento, as it is a remote gewog. “Besides people from Tsento, the yenlag thromde will also benefit highlanders,” he said.

Owing to lack of criteria in identifying a yenlag thromde,  local leaders assumed that a yenlag thromde can come up in any of the gewogs.

The DT chairman said that lack of criteria was an issue while the ministry hardly gave the DT enough time for consultation. “The ministry issues a circular today asking us to get back to them the next day,” he said.

Local leaders also pointed out that the Parliament voting out the two proposed yenlag thromde was unconstitutional. They said Paro should not have been left without a yenlag thromde when the Constitution mandates one in each dzongkhag. This, some said involved party politics at the Parliament.

Before the DT resolved to vote, three options were presented. The chairman asked whether the DT should propose Jitsiphu as endorsed earlier or if the local leaders should visit the proposed places to check the feasibility. The other option was to vote on the gewogs as proposed by the respective gups.

Paro’s Lamgong-Wangchang, Dogar- Shaba and National Council representatives also attended the DT.

Before voting, National Council member Kaka Tshering said that while voting was a fair decision, it was important that elected leader look at the larger interest of the dzongkhag.

Dogar-Shaba representative Kesang Wangmo said that the DT’s decision to cast their votes on the gewogs for yenlag thromde seemed rushed. She said if there was no criterion to decide a yenlag thromde, the ministry should be questioned. “How can the yenlag thromde be decided through EVM? It will complicate things later,” she said.

At the last Parliament session, the house failed to reach a consensus on the yenlag thromde despite voting thrice on three options. Jitshiphu was identified as the new yenlag thromde for Paro after Bondey was merged with tshongdue as the dzongkhag thromde.

Jitshiphu couldn’t achieve the required votes while the same followed with Betana and Wanakha as suggested by Kesang Wangmo.

Kesang Wangmo expressed concerns on Jitshiphu being identified as the proposed yenlag thromde stating that the town was already under the Paro valley development project and had more potential to grow. Instead, she said Betena would be a better option.

Meanwhile, the DT also resolved that the issue of the dzongkhag thromde be discussed in the upcoming Parliament session.

Local leaders said that villagers want the Parliament to relook into the boundary demarcation. They said it was not that people did not want to come under thromde but that people were worried about losing a huge portion of the wetland.

“As people submitted that they don’t want to lose a huge portion of the wetland, which is about 500 acres, they want the map submitted by the DT to be endorsed,” Hoongrel gup Sangay said, adding that the DT map had left all the wetland while the area expands till Bondey.

Kinga Dema, Paro