The thorny thromde issue

When it comes to decision-making, there is a lot to learn from our past experience.  Despite still being a developing country, we are known, even admired, for having clarity of view, and the courage to decide our own priorities and to move at our own pace.

Our cautious approach to development has always benefitted us, as there are several mistakes of others to learn from.  A good example is how we are preserving our environment.  This same logic could be applied to the decision the parliament is struggling to make on the declaration of dzongkhag and yenlag thromdes.

After almost two days of discussion, there seem to be little progress on the finalisation of the thromde boundaries.  Discussions were intense, often confusing members.  Several rounds of voting were done, yet the outcome seems to be still up in the air.  Parliament will seek approval for another joint sitting to continue the discussion.  This sounds more logical, as the issue in hand is important and any wrong move could have implications.

It need not be rushed.  Going by the disagreement in Parliament over some of the thromdes, it appears that there are a lot of issues yet to be ironed out.  It was supposed to be smooth sailing after the opposition party, which initially voiced reservations, agreed to support the establishment of dzongkhag and yenlag thromdes.

The disagreement now seems to stem from increasing or decreasing boundaries of thromdes.  Three thromdes the works and human settlement ministry proposed were cancelled through voting.  The Speaker warned that some dzongkhags could miss the change of having thromdes, and members agreed to continue discussion on it, nullifying their own stand through voting.

Not much was achieved on the second day, as members appeared confused and more disagreement ensued.  Those moving the motion couldn’t convince those objecting or asking for clarification.  Different members had different interpretations on provisions related to the thromdes.

To the viewers, it appeared like not much homework had gone into it, despite the proposals being consulted by the ministry at the local level.  The thromdes were approved from the dzongkhag thsogdu, the highest decision making body in the dzongkhag.

The local government election is getting closer, the government has pledged thromdes in each dzongkhag, and a lot of groundwork has been done.  The thromdes have to be in place way before the elections.  Those interested in contesting should have enough time to prepare, including making a decision to quit government jobs and contest.

But the issues and disagreements have to be resolved to ensure a smooth electoral process, once the thromdes are finalised and work towards electing people and resource allocation commences. Some feel that the government is rushing to fulfil their pledge, but a thromde mired in controversy and problems could backfire if the government wishes to expand its support base in the thromdes.

There is so much hope on the local government.  It is expected to decongest development activities, stop rural-urban migration, and increase better representation.  If the objective is not fulfilled, there is no purpose to having them.  The Constitution mandates it, but doesn’t specify when.

The best way forward is to thrash out the differences, even if it requires a special session because of the timing.

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