Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, while responding to a request from a villager from Zangkhar chiwog in Drametse, Mongar, to look into the possibility of providing some incentives for chipoen (messenger), said that he would discuss the matter and find out if chipoens are needed.

The villager, Ugyen Penjor, said that chipoens play an important role in coordinating meetings, as tshogpas cannot reach every village.

He said that the chipoens, who are appointed on a rotational basis, spent days to organise programmes in villages and conduct meetings. “The government should do away with chipoens if it cannot pay incentives.”

Lyonchhen said that while chipoens are appointed in villages based on the age-old practice, there is no act or rules that mandated the need of a chipoen.

He said he would discuss the matter once he is back to Thimphu. “If chipoens are necessary, we will keep them. Otherwise, we will do away with the practice.”

Meanwhile, villagers also requested for a doctor at the Drametse basic health unit (BHU), which has two male health workers and a nurse.

A villager, Karma, said deputing a doctor would benefit the local residents since the number of people living in the satellite town increased in recent years and the school was also upgraded to a central school.

He also said the population is expected to increase since a Nyingma college is being constructed in the gewog. “People from Balam and Narang gewogs would also benefit, as they will not have to travel to Trashigang and Mongar hospitals.”

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, however, said that the government could only depute doctor if it fulfills the criteria set by the health ministry.

Responding to a request to upgrade the school to higher secondary, he also said that procedures set by the education ministry should be followed. “If the number of students increases, the school will be upgraded.”

In Balam gewog, he informed the people that the gewog centre road would be blacktopped soon.

He also assured people to provide three more power tillers since the gewog only has two power tillers provided by the government.

In Narang, Prime Minister assured to construct the gewog centre road from Rolong and that he would assess the road condition before the blacktopping works start.

He also urged people to invest in biogas projects, as the government provides a subsidy of about Nu 9,000 to farmers venturing into the project.

Tashi Phuntsho | Drametse