Thinley Namgay

Highlanders of Lingzhi, Soe, and Naro will now get better charges for the porter-pony services.

Thimphu Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) approved new rates on August 31.

The old porter rate was Nu 300 a day, and the daily pony rate Nu 450. The DT revised the daily porter charges to Nu 500 and Nu 700 for pony services.

Soe Gup Kencho Dorji said that the government had increased the salary and allowances for the civil and public servants, but the charges for porter-pony had remained unchanged.

Kencho Dorji said that Lingzhi and Soe are some of the few places in the country where there are still no motorable roads.

“Porter-pony charges have become one of the sources of income for highlanders due to lack of road,” he said.

According to Kencho Dorji, it takes three days to reach Soe from Paro and Thimphu. Considering the expenses incurred on the way, he said that the old rate was not reasonable.

DT members say that the porter-pony rates were discussed several times in the past DT sessions.

Lingzhi Gup Wangdi said that with old porter-pony rates, only the people with more horses could earn some income while carrying the government’s goods and food items of FCB.

Thimphu Dzongdag Dorji Tshering said that as per the rules framed by the finance ministry, civil servants get porter-pony charge of Nu 1,200 daily.  Dzongdag said that considering that basis, the porter pony rates for highlanders should not be above Nu 1,200.

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk