Mongar and Zhemgang Dzong renovations raised in Parliament

During question and answer session on Friday, MP Ugyen Wangdi of Drametse-Ngatshang, questioned the Home Minister on the possibility of renovation of Mongar Dzong in the current plan.

MP Ugyen justified that Mongar Dzong is about 60 years old and requires immediate renovation, especially to ensure safety of the monks and lamas residing in the Dzong. So, given that the government declared recently that construction of government office buildings and structures in the 12th FYP will be put on halt, the MP raised his doubt on whether or not will the government consider the renovation of Mongar Dzong in the current plan.

Lyonpo Sherub Gyeltshen said that preserving culture and Dzongs in all the 20 Dzongkhag is very important. He said, “Due to budgetary issue in the 12th FYP, we decided not to construct any office buildings. However, this message seems to have been misunderstood and misinterpreted than what the government actually meant.”

In 10th FYP, Mongar Dzong has been renovated and office extension has been done and it continued in 11th FYP plan as well, Lyonpo said. “And if there is need for any further renovation or maintenance, the issue has to be brought in by Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) to us.”

“Until now we did not get any proposal on this from DT, but that doesn’t mean we will leave it that way. If there is an issue we will definitely look into the matter and render our support. However, it is also imperative we look into the budget and programs,” Lyonpo added.

In addition, he also said that, if there is need for any other renovation works, Dzongkhags should make use of the Nu 5 mn Dzongkhag Development Grant (DDG), but if projected cost is more, the Dzongkhag can than put up a proposal to the Ministry for further solution. If the need for renovation is urgent, home minister said that they can always discuss even if it’s not included in 12th FYP.

Meanwhile, he said that there are numbers of big offices being built with very few staffs. There are other alternatives he said, whereby if the office is congested, they can always rent a space. Therefore, he said that in order to study all the issues they have decided not to construct any office buildings for now. He said, “We have a committee who will study the need for office building construction, capacity of the office and more. Until we get a response from the committee on the study, we will not construct any new office building.”

Similarly, during the session, MP Gyambo-Tshering of Bardo Trong, Zhemgang also questioned if the government would start the renovation of Zhemgang Dzong which it is long overdue. He said that, Zhemgang Dzong needs major renovation whereby they have submitted the proposal to the government through DT seeking government support to prioritize the construction in the 12th FYP.

He also said that local government also requested repeatedly on this matter.

To this, Lyonpo said that Zhemgang Dzong was affected by an earthquake in 1997 and needed a renovation, but it was simply left as it is even today.

He said, “The renovation should have been done earlier. Today even if we want, the 12th FYP has been already been drafted and this issue is not included in the plan. We are not the one who drafted the 12th FYP.”

If the condition of the Dzong is in dire need for renovation- so much so that the structure might collapse anytime soon, then there is a need for discussion to include and prioritize in the current plan, even if it is not included in the plan, he added.

He said, “In this five year, if we get any extra budget or if there is a way, we will then support the proposal. Otherwise, if we fail to support this in the current plan, we promise to include this in the 13th FYP”.

In addition, if any damages occur to the Dzong, then the the Dzong will not be neglected. “We will study the condition of the Dzong and accordingly try to include in 12th FYP”, Lyonpo said.

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