As Gups happily received the keys to the Gewog boleros one issue also nagging them was on the annual budget of Nu 60,000 which they say will not suffice to meet the gewog utility vehicle’s fuel and maintenance expenses and this might result in the facility not fully serving its intended purpose.
On January 15, the prime minister handed over 205 white bolero pick ups, to serve as gewog utility vehicles, to the elected leaders (gups) gathered in the border town of Phuentsholing for the annual local leaders conference. Providing all gewogs with a utility vehicle was a campaign promise of the present government.
While the gups are happy to receive the vehicle, the budget to run and maintain the facility has become an issue.
“I’ve been driving a Bolero for more than seven years and I know the oil consumption,” said Ge-Nyen Gup Karma Gyeltshen. “The Nu 60,000 will go in fuel itself although it might differ with the farm road conditions.”
He said at least half the allocated budget would go into maintenance. For example at least Nu 17,000 would go into changing all four tyres. “No matter how carefully we use the amount, it is going to cost more,” he said.
Gup Karma Gyeltshen said he is optimistic the government will revise the budget after the first year once they get details of the fuel consumed, maintenance done and distance travelled. “If we were to make an budget we might have to do it from our CD account as we don’t have a right to give the vehicle on hire or charge villagers,” he said.
Chapcha Gup Tobgay said the chiwogs in his gewog are scattered and far which might mean more fuel consumption compared to other gewogs.
“We are worried with the fund utilization, whether to use for fuel to give service to the public or to save for maintenance,” he said. “I think at least government should provide us with Nu 100,000 a year for fuel and maintenance to ensure better and convenient services to the people.”
Orong Gup Jigme said that if the allocated budget gets over before one year they will have to adjust from the CD fund or approach government.