MP raises concern about Dzongkhag and Yenlag Thromde residents paying urban tax without infrastructure

YANGCHEN LHAMO

Thimphu

The residents of Dzongkhag and Yenlag Thromdes have been paying urban tax till now though they were not provided urban infrastructure. The Members of Parliament (MP) raised concern during the ongoing First Session of the Fourth Parliament.

The MP of Nubi-Tangsibji, Trongsa, Tashi Dorji pointed out that residents of Dzongkhag and Yenlag Thromde are paying urban tax but are ‘‘not provided urban facilities.’’ For instance, the residents of Mendrelgang Yenlag Thromde, Tsirang are paying urban tax till now.

Similarly, the residents of Welling, Trongsa, Samtse and Gomtu and other places also have been paying same tax with no amenities of town.

The MP raised that the planning of new town development in Bumthang had started in 2008, but it remained still incomplete. The MP asked about the present status and plans for the new town development of Bumthang. The ministry must support in development the town in terms of budget and technical support.

Responding to the question, the Minister for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, Chandra Bdr Gurung said that the Ministry is aware of the case. It is known that the public are bearing tax without services.

As all the plans and activities should be proposed by the Dzongkhags and Gewogs, the Minister said, ‘‘the government will provide technical assistance.’’

Thromdes are considered as economic hub which provide economic opportunities for the people. The government is studying future economic prospects and feasibility for the establishment of Dzongkhag and Gewog Thromdes.

With the objective of balanced regional development and as a measure to reduce rural-urban migration, it has been the priority of the government to establish towns.

Nonetheless, the Minister said, as all the Dzongkhag and Yenlag Thromdes are managed by the Dzongkhag and Gewog Administrations, ‘‘the plans and framework should come from the Dzongkhag and Gewogs only.’’

However, the minister responded that the development of the towns could have been behind as the Dzongkhags and Gewogs might have had other developmental activities and ‘‘lack of fund.’’

The Minister in the House shared that during the Fifth Session of the Second Parliament in 2015, 20 Dzongkhag and 20 Yenlag Thromdes were identified. ‘‘But only four Thromdes that were identified in 2010 are active,’’ the Minister added.

The MP shared the current status of Bumthang Thromde. As of the most recent information, the new town development in Bumthang, which began in 2008, remains incomplete. Key aspects of its current status include core infrastructure projects, such as road networks, water supply systems, sewage treatment, and electrical grids, which are still not fully developed.

There have been significant delays due to budget constraints, impacting the overall progress of the development. Issues related to urban planning and zoning regulations have created bottlenecks, slowing down construction and development efforts. Local community concerns, including land disputes and the need for public consultations, have also contributed to the delays.

To expedite the completion of Bumthang’s new town development, the previously known as the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement (MoWHS) must implement a detailed and actionable plan.

The MP proposed steps to enhance budget allocation and financial support. It is to secure additional budget allocations specifically earmarked for Bumthang’s town development in the upcoming fiscal budgets. Another is to explore alternative financing options such as Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and international development grants to supplement government funding. Other strengthened technical support and capacity building are to deploy technical experts to provide on-the-ground support in planning, designing, and executing infrastructure projects. Organizing training sessions and capacity-building programs should be there for local government officials to enhance their skills in urban planning and project management.

For accelerated infrastructure development the government should prioritize the completion of road networks and improve public transportation facilities to enhance accessibility within the town. The government should also ensure the expedited development of essential utilities, including water supply, sewage systems, and electrical infrastructure. Public amenities such as healthcare facilities, educational institutions, and recreational areas to improve the quality of life for residents should be developed.

Review and update the master plan to reflect current needs and future growth projections, ensuring that zoning regulations facilitate rather than hinder development. Incorporate sustainable urban planning practices to promote environmental conservation and long-term resilience. Conduct regular public consultations to gather input from local communities, address their concerns, and incorporate their feedback into the planning process.

Maintain transparent communication channels to keep all stakeholders informed about project progress, changes, and timelines. Establish a robust monitoring framework to track the progress of development projects, ensuring they stay on schedule and within budget.

Conduct regular evaluations to assess the impact of completed projects and make necessary adjustments to improve future initiatives. Immediate Actions required are to convene a project review meeting with all relevant stakeholders to assess the current status, identify critical bottlenecks, and develop a detailed action plan.  Ensure the timely release of allocated funds and secure additional financial resources to cover any budget shortfalls. Establish a technical task force comprising experts from MoWHS and other relevant agencies to provide dedicated support and supervision for the project.

Related Posts

About The Author