The Upper House deliberated on the three resolutions passed during the 13th Session of the National Council (NC) and land related issues yesterday.
The House passed the resolutions pertaining to shortage of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene, policy review on import of second hand electric vehicles and obstructions to NC from conducting its Parliamentary duties.
On the issues related to LPG and kerosene and import of second hand electric vehicles, the House received no response from the government yesterday.
The Deputy Chairperson of NC, Tshering Dorji, said he hopes to get a response from the government and the concerned bodies. He said media outlets have reported on the activities carried out related to the LPG and kerosene issues, but the NC has not formally received the response.
Justifying the situation, Chairman of NC, Dasho (Dr) Sonam Kinga said the collaboration among the bodies, process of collaboration and not proper handing-taking of paperwork might be the reason for not reaching a response on time. However, he added that the government has informed that there will be a response.
The House submitted the resolutions issues related to shortage of LPG and kerosene to the Ministry of Economic Affair and the Royal Audit Authority (RAA).
The resolutions highlighted on the urgent need to frame a policy for import, distribution, and pricing of LPG and Superior Kerosene Oil (SKO) in the country.
The House also discussed on measures to ensure better access to subsidized commodities by intended beneficiaries, such as establishing measures to monitor the distribution of subsidized LPG to households, to reduce procedures and steps for obtaining SKOs, and to continue to explore alternatives to reduce dependency on such imported energy were also included.
NC also calls on the RAA to conduct a Special Audit to examine the possibility of illegal deflection of the two commodities across the borders.
On this, the response from the RAA said the agency’s current pool of resources is engaged in the planned activities to complete the performance audit on tax of mining and quarrying sector by October 2014.
Thereby, the RAA anticipates on the study until the performance audit on tax on mining and quarrying sector is completed.
On the front of the policy review on import of second hand electric vehicle, it was discussed that the government continue observe the ban on the import of second hand vehicle including 40 secondhand electric car, Nissan Leaf, as per the letter and intent of the provision of “Sales Tax, Customs and Excise Act 2000” and Rules and Procedures for Imports from Third Countries 2001.”
The House pointed out for the government to re-examine its decision to facilitate and subsidize second hand electric cars to be used as taxis, in light of its efficiency, reliability, and eco-friendliness. As well as to place greater emphasis on promoting efficient, affordable and reliable public transport (electric or non-electric).
The Deputy Chairperson said the government’s decision to import the second hand electric cars, to be used as taxis, has to be looked into since the discussion with the taxi owners on the pricing and efficiency of the vehicle has not been carried out. He also added that improving the public transports would help in preserving the environment.
The third issue, the removal of obstructions for enabling the National Council to conduct its Parliamentary duties, the Deputy Chairperson said as per the provisions of the Constitution and the Civil Service Act of 2010 as responded by the Royal Civil Service Commission, the civil servants are responsible to provide information to National Council.
Deliberating the issues from the dzongkhags on land related issues, land compensation and rate of compensation, Chukha National Council (NC) Member, Pema Tenzin, said while government takes over the private land, below 0.10 acre, the government pays compensation. More the land holding and one is provided with land replacement.
Chukha NC added that as per the Land Act 2009, it says, the rate of compensation would be revised within the three years’ time frame. But, as of now six years have passed and there has not been any revision. He asked why the revision has not been made.
Dagana NC, Sonam Dorji, also shared his view on the compensation rate, where if a person’s land has been acquired by the government many years ago and has not been compensated till date, it would not be inappropriate to compensate at the earlier rate.
The National Council decided to carry out further studies on it and to take the appropriate decision in coming days.