MoA suspends formation of community forests, only for the time being

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) will not discontinue the practice of community forests, says the Minister of MoAF during the question hour session of National Assembly on January 28.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Nganglam constituency, Choida Gyamtsho, raised the question on the MoAF suspending the formation of community forests.

The Minister of MoAF, Yeshey Dorji said, “It was suspended only for the time being.”

He said that the formation of the community forests was suspended for now because of the contentious issues related to community forests, which include Tsamdros and Sokshings in some dzongkhags. The ministry will undertake review and possible improvement on the good practices of community forests, so as to resolve the issues.

MP for Radhi-Sakteng constituency, Jigme Wangchuk, questioned the MoAF on why Trashigang was not given the permission to set up a feed production plant as it was important for the dzongkhag. The Minister Yeshey Dorji said the ministry is rendering all possible support towards increasing the productivity of livestock.

MP for Gangzur Minjey constituency, Karma Rangdol, also questioned MoAF on reinstating the system of Tsamdro and Sokshing as stated in Land Act of Bhutan 2007.

The Minister of MoAF said the Land Act of Bhutan 2007 defines the utilization of Tsamdro and Sokshing, but the rules have not been implemented accordingly. He said the ministry is working towards forming a coordination unit to monitor it. The Minister also added that the ministry would carry out assessment to smoothly implement sections pertaining to Tsamdro and Sokshing in the Land Act of Bhutan 2007.

During the question hour session, MP for Panbang constituency, Dorji Wangdi, questioned Ministry of Education (MoE) Minister on the rationality of introducing autonomous administration in schools and consolidation and reduction of schools.

Minister of MoE, Mingbo Drukpa, said that autonomy grant to schools would be introduced after running a mass pilot project in schools. The Minister said the Dzongdags in all dzongkhags have been informed on identifying schools that are interested to take part in the pilot project. The ministry would be able to ascertain the number of schools interested in seeking autonomy after the completion of the pilot project.

Regarding consolidation and reduction of schools, he said that it depends on the availability of the number of students in schools, and it was not at all directly determined by the ministry. The Minister said the ministry’s goal is to improve the quality of education, which is dependent on the vital role played by the principal in a school.

The Minister of MoE said the ministry has finalized the ICT master plan, and has started working on the Teacher Human Resources (HR) Policy, strategy and guideline of the education ministry that will ensure improvement of overall quality of education by enhancing remuneration of teachers and expanding training opportunities.

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