NA passes Education City Bill

The Bhutan Education City Bill was passed by the National Assembly on June 28 with all members except two voting for the bill by show of hands. The two opposition MPs were the only two members who didn’t raise their hands.

The house unanimously acknowledged and incorporated all the changes made by the National Council to the bill.

The bill was passed by NC last week.

NA’s legislative committee chairman Ugyen Wangdi said, though his committee couldn’t review the bill after it was passed by NC, “there isn’t anything to disagree upon as advised by Druk Holdings and Investment (DHI) and the government agency drafting the bill”.

He requested the house to come to a consensus and endorse the bill as major ground works for the project will start very soon. He said activities will be stalled by another six months if the bill goes for joint discussions in the 10th parliamentary sessions.

The works and human settlement minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba who appreciated changes made by the NC said there was no major changes made on context of the bill and would be thankful if the house endorses the bill.

The NC had amended section 42 (1) &(2) of the bill which allowed government to lease land to the developer for a maximum of 90 years and the developer to sublease any part of the land. The NC resorted to amend the section stating that land lease will be executed as per the Land Act 2007.

This, the NC found was in direct contradiction to the land Act 2007 which states that government land will be leased on 30 years term but is renewable. Subleasing was also identified as not allowed under normal government procedures.

Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba said the changes made will not cause any harm as the land lease is renewable after 30 years. He said it is important to pass the bill at the earliest as the developer has been finalized and work plan for the project has been drawn.

Section 5 of the draft bill which allows it to override any other law has been deleted after the NC concluded that no project specific Acts shall supersede existing national laws.

A sub-clause has also been added to the bill to allow Gups of relevant Gewogs as members of the education city board.

Gasa MP Damcho Dorji who opposed the bill held his stand on the bill as justified during the eighth parliamentary session in January. Earlier, he cited the IT Park as an example to prove his point of just where the education city was headed to becoming a flop. “I fear the same fate awaits the education city”, he said then.

“It’s not only about the land lease that we were not in favor of the bill owing to which my stand still hold good”, he added.

Opposition Leader, Tshering Tobgay who reiterated his earlier stand said education city is a project and is executed as an economic project. “We need to think hard while passing such laws specifically for a project. I fail to understand the reason,” he said.

He also referred to the other major projects in the country for which legislation was never introduced.

He said, moreover works for the project has begun before the law has been passed. “I don’t understand it all,” he concluded.

The two houses in total have made 37 various amendments to the draft bill. Almost all the amendments made by NA in the eighth parliamentary session were accepted by NC. About 18 amendments were made by NC before passing the bill last week.

About Minjur Dorji

7 comments

  1. Congratulations Hon’ble NA members (45 of you)! You have successfully and mindlessly passed one of Bhutan’s shadiest bills (from inception to its content to its intent). You have proven that your party loyalties far surpass loyalties to the nation and national interests. 

    We must now find ways and means to ensure your departure at the polls in 2013!

  2. I believe Lyonchen’s son Palden got a very big bribe in millions of dollars. Even Lyonpo Dago’s son Palden is supposed to have received and equal amount. So, morally to endorse such a bill or execute such a project is so wrong.

    Logically, this project is not going to work and everybody knows that very well. Despite that it is being pushed forward. Such is the audacity of the government. 

    This is so WRONG

    • I wonder who paid the two of them millions of dollars in bribes as according to you the project is not going to work. I hope you can substantiate your accusations as at this point it seems a bit far fetched. But if you are doing it to discredit the PDP, than I understand it because as a PDP supporter, you must still be reeling from the shameful defeat of 2008 and come 2013, things are definitely not going to get better.

  3. 2013 is just around the corner so every bill must passed because if DPT doesn’t win majority in next election he can’t pass the bill so that is why everything is getting pushed. I used to have a great respect for PM and but the way he manipulates other human being. so sad Bhutan is destroying in the name of development. 

  4. drukpa drukpa

    whether DPT wins or not, they have done enough damage. The edn city bill has been pushed through successfully though our legislative procedures have no guidelines to pass such bills. The govt with its majority seats in NA managed to convert a private bill into a government bill to pass it. Shame on the NA and shame on the NC. NC, a house which is supposed to and heard to be an apolitical body. only one member pointed out in the council that this is a private bill and we need to look into our legislative procedures. 
    zimba says its best to pass the bill in this session itself and not prolong it for a joint sitting as work need to start soon at site. such is the hurry, when there is conflict of interest. the NA and NC has passed a bill specifically for an economic project and thus created a precedence. An undemocratic one though.  
    the houses didnt pay heed to a few members who proposed for an umbrella Act for such projects so that there neednt be another bil for another such project. 
    why in the world are our leaders hell bent on legislating a private undertaking project????
    what about our main industries such as hydropower? we never had an Act for it.
    this is a clear coordination by JYT, a few ministers and DPT’s inside men in DHI Infra. come 2013… and dont be surprised if kinga tshering becomes a DPT MP.

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