Villagers and representatives submit petition

Thromde: Around 20 residents of Wangtsa chiwog in Haa yesterday again submitted a petition to the works and human settlement minister, lyonpo Dorji Choden in Thimphu seeking a re-deliberation on the Haa thromde boundary.

Representing 32 households, the Katsho gup, mangmi, tshogpa and other residents submitted their appeal to the ministry. They had earlier submitted the same issue to the ministry, the Speaker, National Council and the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB).

“We came here because we were worried as our issue is not yet discussed even though the on-going parliament session is almost coming to an end,” a villager said.

One of them said that the people of Wangtsa were expecting the issue to be discussed in this session.

Wangtsa tshogpa, Phub Dolay said they were happy with minister’s response. He said the minister acknowledged their request. “Lyonpo said she would submit copies of our documents to the Prime Minister and other authorities again,” he said.

He also said that they were asked to bring up the issue to the ministry through the Gewog Tshogde and Dzongkhag Tshogdu, which they will soon do.

Tshogpa Phub Dolay said to learn that Wangtsa was included in the thromde was a surprise for the people who were never consulted by any authority. They learned about it when ECB officials came to Haa for a meeting on delimitation much later.

“ECB officials had the Haa thromde map with Wangtsa included,” another villager said. “We are wondering how any authority could decide everything on their own without consulting people. Our rights must be respected.”

Another said that the other four chiwogs were dropped off the thromde map after consultation and villagers disagreed. “Should we be given the same choice, we would have also disagreed.”

Ingo and Bali chiwogs under Katsho gewog and Bagina and Dumchu chiwogs under Esu gewog are not within the thromde.

Another villager said the thromde boundary excludes the Bhutan Power Corporation’s transmission office, Royal Bhutan Army camp and IMTRAT hospital, which fall ahead of their village, but while leaving these institutions out, the thromde boundary, includes Wangtsa.

“Although no houses have fallen within the thromde, their land is now within the thromde boundary,” he said.

Karma Lham, 42, said her 1.4 decimals of dry land where she cultivates potatoes are now within the thromde. “This means, I won’t be allowed to grow potatoes anymore and the land tax would also be higher,” she said.

Lyonpo Dorji Choden said she explained to the people that what the ministry has done was based on the report submitted by the dzongkhag administration, which must be respected and trusted.

“The ministry reviewed the report and the Parliament endorsed it through a voting process,” she said. “I will be submitting all the documents to all the authorities including the Prime Minister as we can’t stop people from expressing their opinion.”

Haa dzongdag, Sonam Wangdi said the dzongkhag administration was also not aware of how the delimitation map was made until they saw it with ECB officials during the delimitation meeting.

Nima Wangdi