English | Dzongkha Saturday, August 8, 2020

Removing Zhemgang from tourism flagship programme,politically driven : Opposition

Pema Tshewang & Kinley Dem, Thimphu
Jul 5, 2019

The Opposition Party says the government’s decision of removing Zhemgang Dzongkhag from tourism flagship programme has undermined the whole planning and budgetary process of the parliament. This was shared during a press conference today.

The government had initially included the district in the Tourism Council of Bhutan’s flagship programme to promote balanced tourism. Under the flagship programme, four Dzongkhags of Lhuentse, Dagana, Gasa and Zhemgang were identified and approved by the parliament. Each dzongkhag will receive a budget of Nu 11 M under this programme.

However, the opposition said the cabinet has later removed Zhemgang from the list and has added Sarpang with the other three districts.

The Opposition Leader Pema Gyamtsho (PhD) said the decision has not only shocked its party members but also the people of Zhemgang.

“If such a thing happens, all constituencies that fall under the Opposition Party should be concerned. Constituents might think that if the Opposition members argue with the Ruling Party, all planned development activities might get cancelled. Is this a good precedent? It will create a big problem and will affect balanced development in all regions.”

Since both the MPs of Zhemgang are from the opposition party, they said it is discrimination.

“The decision is a worrisome trend in politics, which has never happened in the past. All said and done, whatever justifications cabinet may give, I think it is a bad fact that it is nothing other than outright political discrimination,” Panbang MP Dorji Wangdi said.

The Opposition said it is a biased politically driven decision.

“I think it is an attempt to muzzle vocal parliamentarian. Secondly, it discriminates constituencies represented by opposition members. And I think it will have huge implications for democracy in the future. I would say it is the first incident a government targeting a member of the opposition and also the constituency as well,” Bartsham_ Shongphu MP Passang Dorji (PhD) said.

The opposition members also said Zhemgang should be one of the focused districts while Sarpang can be kept as an additional district.

Meanwhile, in a  recent post on the facebook page of the Zhemgang’s National Council member by Pema Dakpa, he expressed his concerns regarding the government choosing Sarpang over Zhemgang as the focused district under the tourism flagship programme. He also shared his hope that the government reconsiders the decision.

The sustainable tourism development has been identified as a flagship programme in the 12th Five-year plan. This is considering the importance of the tourism sector in achieving socio-economic development in the country. 

1 Comment for “Removing Zhemgang from tourism flagship programme,politically driven : Opposition”

  1. Norbu Samphel

    First Chamkhar Chhu-Dunmang hydopower project got shelved. Now comes the tourism and what next?. Even the roads and school might get closed.

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