People of Wangchang and Hoongrel reject Parliament’s decision

LG: Following an instruction from the Speaker, deputy speaker Chhimi Dorji yesterday led a team of officials from the Works and Human Settlement Ministry (MoWHS), the Election Commission and Lamgong-Wangchang MP Khandu Wangchuk to Wangchang and Hoongrel gewogs of Paro to study the thromde boundary issue.

Among the participants from the two gewogs were local leaders and prominent residents who ‘totally rejected’ the Parliament’s decision.

The thromde demarcation has brought about 90 percent of voter population of the gewogs under dzongkhag thromde.

Hoongrel Gup Sangay said the proposal to reconsider the decision would be proposed through the Dzongkhag Tshogdu to the Parliament before the winter session. He said the participants were asked to raise their hand if they accepted Parliament’s decision. No one did so.

“The meeting totally rejected the inclusion of the villages into the thromde boundary,” said Sangay.

The local leaders of the two gewogs said that inclusion of the villages would have implications such as destruction of paddy fields and increase in tax burden on the people.

One of the officials who attended the meeting said the proposal could either be sent to the Parliament by the local government concerned or through the constituency’s MP. The gups wrote to the Speaker earlier also.

Speaker Jigme Zangpo said the decision to consider the petition will depend on the members of plenary committee.

“My job is like that of a headmaster,” he said, adding that it was the plenary committee who screens the agenda of a parliament session. However, it is important to think over the “stability of governance.”

“To change laws frequently is not good for stability of governance,” said Speaker Jigme Zangpo. He said he was not sure whether the Parliament will be able to discuss the issue.

Delimitation of Demkhongs Rules and Regulations 2012 states: “The review and revision of the Demkhongs shall be carried out after every 10 years.” A person guilty of violation the rules and regulations, says the document, will be dealt in accordance with laws.

The Speaker said that Paro’s Dzongkhag Thromde was approved by 60 members of the Parliament, which he said is more than a required majority.

Alteration of areas and boundaries should be done only with the consent of not less than three-fourths of the total number of members of the parliament.

Leader of Opposition (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho said that the Parliament’s decision usually is irreversible. “But in Paro’s case, there is a good reason because there was no adequate consultation,” he said. “If we have made a mistake, we should correct it.”

Panbang MP Dorji Wangdi said that the Parliament should be able to reconsider the decision if need be. The MPs, he said, voted the Thromde Bill merely based on the information provided by the MoWHS.

“The information provided by the MoWHS was not in keeping with the decision of the Dzongkhag Tshogdu, which in a sense, is not in keeping with the wishes and views of the people,” said Dorji Wangdi.

Lamgong-Wangchang MP, Khandu Wangchuk did not comment on the issue.

National Council member from Samtse, Sangay Khandu, said that he also believes that the Parliament should be able to change its decision.

Katsho in Haa is another affected gewog, whose gup has written to the Speaker and MoWHS. Gup Chhundu earlier wrote to the Election Commission against inclusion of Wangtsa village in the thromde.

“The commission told us that the issues was decided by the Parliament and that it cannot be altered,” said Chhundu.

However, Trashigang’s Samkhar gup said that one of the chiwogs was included in thromde after consultation with the public. “ But we have no problem because it was done with the consent of the people.”

Dorji Wangdi reiterated that there is lack of policy for thromde demarcation. There should be clear policy guidelines on whether the dzongs and the hospitals should fall under thromde.

MP Dorji Wangdi said, “I feel they should come under thromde,” which he added was not the case in Paro.

MB Subba

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