The Gasa Dzongkhag Tshogdu intends to propose to the home ministry that civil servants posted in Gasa’s Khatoe gewog also be paid high altituted allowance.
According to existing civil service rules, civil servants working in places above 3000 metres are admissible to a high altitude allowance of Nu 3,000 a month. Civil servants in Laya and Lunana gewogs of Gasa dzongkhag already receive the high altitude allowance.
But more recently civil servants in Gasa’s Khatoe gewog said they allow qualify for the high altitude allowance because their work station, near Phu Lhakhang, is above 3,000 metres.
Khatoe Gup Thinley Wangdi, who is also a Thrizin (chairperson) of the Gasa Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) will propose for the high altitude allowance in light of all the difficulties faced by the civil servants.
“Civil servants working in Gasa are unhappy because roads are blocked regularly due to harsh weather, there are only few shops and the dzongkhag faces constant power blackouts,” Thinley Wangdi said.
Most civil servants are discouraged to work in Gasa and people can see few empty chairs and tables in offices said Gasa Dzongkhag Human Resource Officer, Sangay Phurba. “When a person gets transferred it takes a couple of months to get a replacement” he added.
An official from the Department of Local Governance (DOLG), Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, agreed that the civil servants in Gasa deserve an altitude allowance. “Civil servants posted at high altitudes stays in isolated areas. Moreover they are exposed to the vagaries of nature and harsh living conditions without even basic amenities during such postings,” he said.
The government revised the high altitude allowance in 2014. “The eligibility of allowance will be based on places of difficulty that will be identified and notified by the government,” the Revised high Altitude Allowance Rule says.
“Civil servants working in Gasa should get other benefits and not just high altitude and difficulty allowance,” a local government official said. “As a civil servant I would like to know how efficient the Royal Civil Servants Commission ( RCSC) is with the transfer of civil servants to remote places like Gasa and what are the benefits it provides to the civil servants working in Gasa to encourage them to work there.”
On civil servants posted near Phu Lhakhang being eligible for the high altitude allowance a home ministry official said that they will have to make sure the location is above 3,000 metres and it will have to be discussed with the finance ministry. “If they are admissible, we will give, we have to give”, the official said.