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During the fifth session of the second Parliament, when the session discussed about establishment of the 16 Dzongkhags Thromdes and the Yenlag Thromdes, sadly Pemagatshel Dzongkhag could neither have a Dzongkhag Thromde nor a Yenlag Thromde as required under clause no: 2 of the Article 22 of the Constitution of Kingdom of Bhutan.
For that, the opposition party (DPT) had raised issues concerning the selection of the Dzongkhag Township in Nganglam and Denchhi as the Yenlag Thromde.
According to the press release from the opposition party, it states that it was clear that the proper consultation with the stakeholders and the people was not done. The shopkeepers and the people of eight gewogs would have been consulted and briefed on the justifications for selecting either Denchhi or Nganglam and how Denchhi town would not be affected even it remained as Yenlag Thromde.
The release further states that, ever since the establishment of the Pemagatshel Dzongkhag, the government had been looking for a suitable site for the construction of the Dzong as well as the Dzongkhag town. Finally in view of the wide and flat area, Denchhi, which falls under the Shumar gewog was identified as the site both for the new Dzong construction and township development by the fourth Druk Gyalpo. It is located in the centre of eight gewogs.
In fact, it was His Holiness Duejom Rimpochhe who named the Dzongkhag as Pemagatshel in 1968. Denchhi forms the centre of the lotus flower while the surrounding mountains and hilltops as petals, states the release.
Press release further states that, the river Marung which is part of Denchhi, houses some shops, which have been in existence for years. Before the construction of roads to five gewogs, namely: Yurung, Chhimong, Khar, Chongshing and Dungmin during the 10th FYP, the people from these gewogs as well as from Kengkhar from Mongar Dzongkhag would come to this busy town for the sale of locally produced goods mainly oranges and for shopping for household requirements. Further up towards the south are small towns such as Gypsum, Khothagpa, and the temporary shops at Pemagatshel Dzong area. There is also a satellite town called Khairi Gonpa. Put all these towns together, Denchhi was rightly chosen as the Dzongkhag town.
Under the command of His Majesty the Fourth King the then National Assembly deliberated and approved the Denchhi as the Dzongkhag township on 26th March, 2006 during its 89th session giving a sigh of relief to the people of Pemagatshel, states the press release.
Press release further states that as required under the Constitution of Bhutan, the issue of Dzongkhag Thromdes was discussed and approved Denchhi as the Dzong- khag Thromde “B” but the Parliament on 7th July 2010 along with 15 other Thromdes “B”. Accordingly, all preparatory works including the acquisition of lands from the private people, demarcation of plots, and over all master plan had been done. The work of infrastructure development has also been begun. The former government was accused of paying the compensation of lands higher than the Property Assessment and Valuation Agency (PAVA) rates bringing the name of Denchhi to the limelight.
The people, especially the shopkeepers at the Pemagatshel town, were preparing to move down to the Denchhi town. The sudden announcement of Nganglam as the Dzongkhag Thromde came to the people of upper Pemagatshel as a bombshell. Further, out of 16 Dzongkhag Thromdes, Pemagatshel was the only one that was not based on the 2010 Thromdes approved by the Parliament, states the press release.
It also stated that, according to the information, the Member of Parliament ( MPs) from upper Pemagatshel received was that the Gewog Tshogde ( GT) had emergency meeting on the Dzongkhag Thromde and most of them endorsed Denchhi as Dzongkhag Thromde. During the emergency meeting of Dzongkhag Tshogdu ( DT) held on 10th May, 2015, there seemed to a sort of confusion stemming from the note stating that Nanglam Throm was approved by our beloved Fourth Druk Gyalpo and that was why most of the DT members did not express their views. At that time there was no question of Dzongkhag Thromde. Sadly, the Pemagatshel remains the only Dzongkhag without Thromde.
But the good news is that the local government would have time to consult with the people and decision taken in the interest of the Dzongkhag in favor of either Denchhi or Nganglam.
Meanwhile, it was good of the Prime Minister to announce during the State of Nation report that the people of Pemagatshel should not worry about it as the government would accelerate the resubmission process through the local government and there would be time for consultation with the people.