Heated debate sparks in Zhemgang DT over lack of consultation

The Zhemgang District Administration’s alleged lack of consultation with the elected local leaders over decision-making processes sparked a lengthy, heated debate in the recent Dzongkhag Tshogdu. Local Government (LG) leaders claim they are elected representatives and should have a say in any decision-making process. They argued that the district often decides without consulting or considering their perspectives, allegations which the district has denied.

The local leaders expressed their unhappiness, citing neglect and failure to understand the reasons for the lack of communication and collaboration.

They argued that cooperation and consultation are essential to effectively serve the people of Zhemgang.

“I have never seen consultations being carried out. Most works are decided and carried out without our knowledge, and sometimes we don’t even find out even when the work has been completed. The Local Government Act clearly states that whether it is the district, dungkhag, or any other agencies, all work should be done in consultation with the relevant local leaders,” said Wangay, the Dzongkhag Tshogdu Chairperson.

“We have reached a point in Zhemgang where it is questionable whether we even need a local government. Nobody listens to us. If the current local government continues to operate in this manner, it will set a precedent that will affect future local governments. The rules of procedure must be followed, including consultation with us. If we cannot cooperate and trust each other, we risk losing respect and ultimately failing to address the poverty issues in Zhemgang,” said Singay Wangchuk, the Nangkor Gup.

The Nangkor gup added that if the rules and regulations of the local government are properly followed, it will benefit both the present and the future of Zhemgang.

“In the past, I have witnessed consultations being conducted during financial closing and many other development activities. However, this time, we do not see such consultations happening. I feel that local governments are neglected and excluded from important discussions. Later, when something goes wrong, we are held responsible for the failure. From now on, we should ensure thorough consultation and coordination to improve the situation,” said Tshering Lhendup, the Shingkhar Gup.

However, the Zhemgang District Administration said that they have followed the necessary protocols and procedures.

The district also added that they are open to improving coordination and communication with the LG leaders to avoid any misunderstandings.

The district also said they will hold a separate meeting to address the issue.

“We have no doubts about it. We submit plans to the DT when they are being drafted, including all the necessary details. At that time, they have nothing to say. Such questions are being raised for personal gain,” said Ugyen Lhendup, Deputy Chief of Livestock Sector.

Some observers of the Dzongkhag Tshogdu said that criticisms from the local government leaders appeared to be purely personal in nature.

Additionally, these observers said that the Dzongkhag Tshogdu failed to maintain decorum within the House.

The fourth Zhemgang Dzongkhag Tshogdu of the third local government was convened on the 7th of March.

Pema Samdrup, Zhemgang

Edited by Sherub Dorji 

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