Paro DT stands by its decision

Taktshang: Opposing the recent decision on the closure timing for Taktshang, the Paro Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) chairman said he would take up the issue with relevant agencies.

DT chairman Phub Tshering said the dzongkhag tshogdu endorsed the closure timing as proposed by the dzongkhag administration through majority votes in September this year.

“No one has the right to nullify a DT resolution,” he said, adding that the right to alter a resolution lies with the DT and not even with the dzongdag or the chairman.

In September, the DT decided to close Taktshang monastery for visitors on Tuesdays except on auspicious days from January 1, 2016. The dzongkhag administration submitted the proposal stating that cleaning and repair or renovation works would be done on Tuesdays.

The decision was to be implemented after informing Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) and relevant stakeholders.

During a meeting between TCB, Paro dzongkhag administration, and Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators (ABTO) on December 23, it was agreed that the proposed timing would be deferred for three months.

However, ABTO’s letter to the tour operators states, “the proposed closure timing will not be implemented and that ABTO and TCB were requested to come up with an alternative measure in the next three months to address the issues raised by Paro dzongkhag (cleaning and crowd management).”

In three months, ABTO and TCB have been asked to come up with a workable solution without which the proposed closure as endorsed by the DT is to be implemented.

Phub Tshering said none of the DT members including him were informed of the meeting between the dzongkhag administration, ABTO and TCB.

“If any of the agencies feel that the DT resolution contravenes the existing laws, they can file a court case but they can’t make fun of the DT,” he said.

Tour operators in September expressed concerns over the ad hoc change in timing even as the dzongkhag administration’s proposal and the DT’s decision were in response to address the aggravating garbage issue.

As a popular tourist hotspot, Taktshang gets more than 1,000 pilgrims a day including tourists. With the number of visitors increasing, keeping the trail clean has become an issue. Except for lunch, Taktshang monastery remains open seven days a week.

Kinga Dema

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