The Zhemgang dzongkhag administration has started implementing the dzongkhag tshogdu’s decision to make wearing of the national dress mandatory from 9am to 5pm.

Dzongdag Harka S Tamang yesterday issued a directive to regional heads in the dzongkhag, stating that all offices including financial institutions should notify their clients on the need to wear the national dress.

“Wearing of the national dress is our culture and identity. Notifications should be put up on the information boards,” the directive stated.

The decision was first taken at the third dzongkhag tshogdu session in October last year to be implemented from December 17, 2017, coinciding with the National Day. The implementation, however, was suspended following public criticism.

The issue was re-deliberated and upheld in the fourth session earlier this year.

Following the decision of the third dzongkhag tshogdu session, economic affairs minister Lekey Dorji in November had written to the dzongdag asking him to file a report on whether DT members had consulted the people of the throm and all eight gewogs in the dzongkhag.

It was found that no proper consultation with the people was carried out before the tshogdu took the decision.

The dzongkhag tshogdu had planned to impose a penalty of Nu 100 with a warning in the first instance, Nu 300 the second time and Nu 500 for the third time.

However, the dzongdag in an earlier interview with Kuensel clarified that the decision should be implemented gradually. He said that although it was the responsibility of the dzongkhag administration, no fines were being imposed for non-compliance of the rule.

The initial decision was to make everyone in the dzongkhag wear the national dress from 9AM to 5PM in both town and villages.

The dzongda said that it was however, being implemented only in the town and offices at the moment and that the dzongkhag administration needed to create awareness among the people.

“It’s at the observation and education stage. One farmer asked me if he had to wear gho even while ploughing the field. I said no,” Harka S Tamang said.

Local leaders had consulted the people after the third session before re-deliberating the decision at the fourth session.

Ngangla gup Rinchen Wangdi said that the rules apply only in public offices and towns. “It’s not applicable in villages and only in town while going to offices,” he said.

MB Subba