Thursday, 8 January 2009

Bhutan : NA discusses appointment of geog caretakers

January 7: The National Assembly discussed whether to appoint caretakers in the geog offices or not. While some members felt that it is necessary to appoint new geog caretakers to strengthen the local government, some felt that it is not necessary keeping in mind the policy of small, compact and efficient civil service.

The Member of Parliament from Dremitse-Ngatshang constituency, Ugyen Wangdi, said till date Chipoens in the villages have been looking after geog offices without any remunerations or wages besides their work.

He said a Chipoen main responsibility is to reach out information to the villagers.

He said he supports the proposal for providing remuneration to Chipoens. He said instead of recruiting new geog caretakers, it is better to keep the Chipoens by providing wages for the extra responsibility.

Supporting his view, the Member of Parliament from Phuentsholing Chencho Dorji said remunerations should be given to the Chipoens and village Tshogpas if funds are available. However, some members felt that it is necessary to recruit new caretakers for the geog offices.

The Home and Cultural Affairs Minister Lyonpo Minjur Dorji said recruiting more people in the geogs would mean adding problem to the housing crunch in the geogs. However, he said the issue can be discussed in the next session of the parliament.

The National Assembly member from Goenkhatoe-Laya constituency in Gasa Damcho Dorji said it would be difficult to strengthen the local government without appointing new geog caretakers.

The Agriculture Minister said it would be suitable to appoint caretakers from the villages itself.

Lyonpo Dr. Pema Gyamtsho said villagers can also provide wages to the appointees from the village taxes.

The house then decided that the issue will be thoroughly discussed after discussions with Dzongkhag and geog officials.

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