News - གནས་ཚུལ།

Why Zhemgang replaced by the Sarpang?

Mighty Zhemgang Dzong

It is disheartening and distressed to learn that Zhemgang replaced by the Sarpang under the Tourism Flagship programme. Social media are flooded with this post and comments. Kuensel and BBS (National media) and The Bhutanese (private media) have covered its news now and then. I am so tired of reading this post and comment, the moment I open the social media apps, every time the hottest talk in social media is about Zhemgang being ignored by the government on political ground.

Then I just thought what is wrong with our politics? Are we creating a good or bad precedent for the future government? Does the government of the day have the right to exclude the development in the opposition party’s constituency? Are we not dividing people based on vote bank? Whom to blame.  I lost my track with title knowledge of law and order of the parliament.

Till date, I believed that whatever the Budget approved and passed by the parliament is final and binding. However, this year it gave me some sort of astonishment. Now, the first time I am hearing the power of the parliament were over-ruled by the cabinet meeting. The government argues that the Cabinet has the power to change the policy. 

Sometimes this can understand by the people as a deliberate mode of the government to ignore the development of the Zhemgang. Whatever, justification and rationale behind of ignoring Zhemgang, I felt something is wrong with the system.

The moment National Council and Opposition wrote a letter to the PM to “review and take appropriate actions accordingly” and “opposition strongly objects the unlawful and discriminatory decision of the government and request to revoke the government’s decision and maintain flagship programme for Zhemgang Dzongkhag as approved in the Budget and Appropriation Act 2019-2020”. In response, again Foreign Minister who is also a chairman of Tourism Council of Bhutan said, the government has the power to change decisions. However, if their legal advisors say it’s illegal, the government would keep the proposed change pending and put it in the next budget presentation.

Buli Village: traditional heritage village

People will closely watch this statement vague in nature to signal that government is not willing to reconsider their decision despite lots of criticism from the opposition, National Council, former politicians, and the people. Interestingly, the minister also said, that if the opposition members have not approached him as a TCB chairperson for any discussion if they felt the decision was illegal.  Many in social media are questioning, what is the use of approaching minister when Budget is approved by the parliament? Some commented how is possible to believe that development in Sarpany can benefit nearby Dzongkhags like Zhemgang and Tsirang?

A golden Languor found in Zhemgang
Great Hornbill in Zhemgang

In reality, Zhemgang can also be a potential tourist spot. Zhemgang has enough land and space for development. The only thing is the government need to approve a budget for its development activity. It is also well-known for the rich bio-diversity, in terms of flora and fauna. Beside that Zhemgang has diverse cultural ethnics groups. It will enthusiast and attack more tourist then Sarpang.

To me, way forward would be to reconsider the decision of the government as approved in parliament. If this decision did not review accordingly as viewed by the National Council and opposition, it would be complicated to understand the policy of a government by the common people. Likewise, trust and faith of people towards our politics would be lost and also it will create a bad precedent to the future government.

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