Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering has said that the next dzongkhag thromde will be established in Samtse. There are currently four dzongkhag thromdes.

The prime minister said this in response to a question from Panbang MP Dorji Wangdi in the National Assembly yesterday on the government’s plan to establish thromdes in the 12th Plan.

He said that it was important for the government to ensure that all 20 dzongkhags are equally developed. “However, we want to start from Samtse when it comes to establishing dzongkhag thromdes,” he said, reasoning that the government would give special attention to the dzongkhag since it was graced by the Druk Gyalpo on the 111th National Day.

Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering also announced that the government would send a medical team comprising surgeons, child specialists and medical specialists within months to Samtse.

“We do not know why Samtse was chosen as the venue for the 111th National Day celebration. But it is important that the people of Samtse benefit from the blessing of His Majesty The King,” he said.

The government, Dr Lotay Tshering said, had not yet discussed as to how many dzongkhag thromdes the government will establish in the 12th Plan, and where they will be established. “We will meet every six months in Parliament where we can discuss such issues,” he said.

The discussion on the 12th Plan, Dr Lotay Tshering said, has just begun and that the government would be open to suggestions in the coming sessions.

Dr Lotay Tshering, however, clarified that all 20 dzongkhags would not get a dzongkhag thromde in the 12th Plan.

The Local Government Act 2006 classified thromdes into three categories – A, B and C – depending on the population. However, Section 15 of the Local Government (amended) Act 2014 states that the government shall establish Dzongkhag Thromde Tshogde and Dzongkhag Yenlag Thromde in all the 20 dzongkhags.

Opposition leader Pema Gyamtsho reminded the government to put in place proper policies before implementing its vision such as establishment of thromdes. He said that time would be wasted if the government establishes thromdes without a proper study of its legal and practical implications.

He cited the example of the previous government’s decision to establish thromdes in all 20 dzongkhags in 2016. The decision was later nullified by the Supreme Court stating that all 20 dzongkhags need not have a dzongkhag thromde at a time. The apex court stated that establishment of thromdes should be need-based depending on the population.

MB Subba