People with unresolved census problems in the south unhappy as politicians continue on a pledging-spree

Census issues are a major concern for people in the south, and the problem continues to be a cause for concern for the people who are unhappy to have to endure such a prolonged issue.

Many voters in the south said they are frustrated about the issue that they have had to face for years and continue to do so despite many political promises in the past.

A 37-year-old civil servant Manju from Gelephu said she voted during the National Council (NC) elections for the candidate whom she thought would be capable to solve census issues, but her vote went in vain because the candidate she voted didn’t make it through the NC race.

This time she is going to vote wisely, and for the party that can really solve the issue.

“Many people here are frustrated, and I feel sad for them to travel all the way to Thimphu, but only to come back home without getting it done and wasting a lot of money,” said Manju.

Aruna Rai, a 38-year-old housewife, has no census issues, but her husband from Tareythang under Sarpang does, and she is disappointed.

“At times we get so frustrated thinking about census. So far its fine, but the problem will be bigger when our kids complete class X, and face the need to produce the citizenship identity card to pursue higher studies. My kids will not be able to continue education or work in the future, and same is the case for others like me,” she added.

Some people said that because of the census issues, they are not able to get land kidus, furthermore, without a citizenship identity card (CID) they cannot even apply for loans. Traveling to the capital city Thimphu is not an easy option for them as they cannot afford the frequent travels. Moreover, the road pass made mandatory to them has to be updated every six months in absence of CID.

Basti Khatawara, 34, from Shompangkha, said her mother has a proper census, but she shares hers with her father which is not cleared due to errors that need to be corrected.

“Last year people from census department came here and listed names and details of everyone, and informed that they will let us know when they come back to take photographs. Till now, nobody came here,” Basti Khatiwara said. She waits in anticipation of the issue being solved someday and said, “We have waited for the day to come when we will be relieved of such tensions.”

While talking with couple of Gups under Sarpang Dzongkhag, Gup Nim Dorji Sherpa of Gakidling gewog said people from census division visited last year during which they listed people who had proof of census and updated documents. The census for these people was then upgraded.

For those who didn’t possess updated documents and proof, the situation didn’t change.

The Gakidling Gup said in some cases, the parents didn’t bother to list their children even when they reached adulthood. He added that it’s the negligence by the parents which has caused the problems.

As of last year, some 20% of people in the gewog have census problems. A recent survey shows Gakidling has over 604 households.

Gup Nim Dorji Sherpa said in the case of Gakidling, if the documents fulfilled all the criteria, he then did his best to upgrade the census record.

“People come to me with a hope and keep inquiring for the status, and it is obvious because it is a major concern for them. But all I can do is to send them back with same answers every time.”

Tareythang Gup Dorji Wangdi said so far in the gewog there are some 49 people in the case file regarding census problems.

He said, “Census officials came two years back and they studied the case and listed the names and all necessary information. It’s just that there is no outcome as of now, and we are waiting for the response.”

Balika Gazmer, 41, has been walking to-and-fro between offices and officials for a census since her child was two.

“Now my kid is studying in high school and still the problem couldn’t be solved,” she added.

“Census problem should be looked upon as soon as possible, it has to be made clear since we cannot live like this,” said a resident, Ran Bahadur Mongar.


Tashi Deki / Sarpang

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  1. Many countries have stringent citizenship/immigration laws because they simply do not want to be swamped by immigrants. It is difficult issue for both national and non national because solving this problem will have impact on demographic balance. In Burma Rakhine ethnic Bangladeshis constitutes 4% of Burmese population and yet Burma perceives them as security threat. In Bhutan we F1 to F7 and it gives false hopes to people by categorizing them in different forms. We should have only 2 categories – national or non-national.

  2. This looks a serious issues and needs to be solved. Hope whoever party comes to power should look into this issue seriously. 

  3. When JYT could ask Kidu for the Prados but he could not ask Kidu on behalf of thousands of southern Bhutanese whose citizenship(census case) is lying pending in the MoHCA since 1992 without any RTI to the silent victims. How can he show his smiling face before the helpless, voiceless and stateless people from the south, who had so much hope and trust of getting back their basic right of citizenship before dissolving his Govt. How many years does he need as he said that” proper procedures have to be followed to determine authenticity” of citizenship. Is the last 20 years not enough time to determine the authenticity? Pl read Meet the Press coverage by Kuensel dated Tuesday March 5, 2013, Insert *2 to prove his crocodile’s tears………….

  4. my view – since the dpt supremo and the MPs could not solve this in last 5 years, they CANNOT and WILL NOT look into this problem of southern and some eastern  bhutanese even in the next 5 years. So my dear friends, select and elect ONLY those who will really feel ur pain. Ex-Govt has failed badly or say LIED to us.

  5. We request “The Bhutanese” to kindly follow up with the Dept. of Civil Registration and census, MoHCA Tashichhodzong and let the silent sufferrers know when this protracted problem is going to be solved. Even non of the political party raise these crucial issue so far. So we are very depressed and disappointed wasting our life in the hope of getting our citizenship ID card from the Government. Now the Government must tell the truth and inform the innocent public whether they are going to resolve the problem or not. 20 years being stateless is not a matter of joke and it is not logical to delete the census easily and difficult to restore it……………………..

  6. The Bhutanese……Pl help us. we are helpless and voiceless……

  7. I successfully completed class XII last year. However I am really disappointed now for not having CID. I visited Thimphu many a time to proceed my census but it was in vain. I lost my scholarship and now I am landing up in College of Science and Technology (CST) where I am supposed to get full scholarship. But I am given half scholarship only because I don’t have CID. I would be grateful if our government could solve this issue sooner.

    • tika ram pradhan

      its a sad news to here;i am in class 12 sci and i feel like not study as there are many problem for not having cid.

  8. ******************************************
    This is a very inhumane news and it is nothing but Gross National Harassment instead of Gross National Happiness.
    Why the Government cannot segregate the people into Bhutanese and non-Bhutanese in the first place? How long the Government needs to confirm the citizenship status of those whose census is under review or under process? Is the last 20 years not enough to resolve this issue? Why it is protracted for so long? Is anybody benefitted out of it? Why the Home Ministry is always biased regarding the Census pending cases in spite of verifying all the required documents of the applicants? Is it healthy to deprive the innocents arbitrarily and make fun of their lives? Who knows how many thousands census case files are collecting dust in the Department of Civil Registration & Census, MoHCA since more than two decades? What not problems people might be facing just for want of legal restoration of the citizenship which got deleted overnight even without the prior knowledge of the individuals…Whose prerogative it is to delete the citizenship abruptly ??
    How can someone born a citizen and later become a resident of a particular country? Why the Government is playing the fool?
    Is the holder of a TD (resident) not a citizen from any country? If this is the case than it is a big help from the Bhutan government if not it is a big human right violation in issuing the same questionable document (TD) to both the Bhutanese (It is also issued to those, whose citizenship status is under review or under process) and non Bhutanese. It is demoralizing being stopped while travelling by the Immigration officials as if the holder of a TD is a wanted criminal. In such a fateful event who will refund the air fare and other logistic implications? If the innocent people cannot travel smoothly let the Terrorists travel boldly with the authenticate passport and fulfill their mission… To be honest I love my King, country and people from my heart but depressed and disappointed with the subtle citizenship policy that is killing us slowly and silently……..May our gracious King have mercy on us. Long live our beloved Monarch!!!

    ‘Bhutanese’ persona non grata to Indian immigration
    ZOOM: + – Reset
    Travel document for residents
    Resident travel document holders are being denied air travel into and out of India
    Those holding resident travel documents cannot legally travel to India currently, as Indian immigration has stopped recognising the document.
    The resident travel document, distinguishable by its green cover, is an identification document used for travelling issued to foreigners legally married to Bhutanese and their legitimate children, according to information available on the home ministry’s website.
    It is also issued to those, whose citizenship status is under review or under process.
    Indian immigration stopped recognising the document in September last year, following an incident where two passengers using the resident travel document were denied entry into India, and were deported from New Delhi airport back to Bhutan. Additionally, national airline Drukair was also fined Nu 200,000 for issuing tickets and flying them to India.
    Drukair customer service’s Wangchuk Tshering said that, prior to the incident Indian immigration had been accepting the travel document. However, since September, Indian immigration has stopped recognising the travel document, based on the justification that the holders’ citizenship is not specified in the identification document.
    The holder of the travel document is categorised as a ‘resident’ in the nationality field.
    As a means to solve the problem, an accompanying letter, specifying relations to a Bhutanese citizen, was issued by the home ministry to holders of such travel documents. However, this was not accepted by Indian immigration.
    As a result, Drukair has stopped issuing tickets to those, who hold the resident travel document intending to travel to India, as it would be fined Nu 100,000 for each such person it flies there.
    Wangchuk Tshering said that even Nepal has stopped recognising the resident travel document.
    However, Thailand is still accepting the resident travel document, as long as a visa is obtained in advance, while Singapore has asked that citizenship is specified and stamped on the observation page of the travel document, he said.
    While some resident travel document holders have managed to get Drukair tickets to India, they are now being stopped by immigration at Paro airport from boarding the aircraft.
    Drukair has forwarded the issue to the foreign affairs and home ministries. Wangchuk Tshering said that the issue can only be resolved at the government to government level. However, he added, obtaining visa on advance from the Indian embassy in Thimphu is an option that was discussed recently.
    Wangchuk Tshering also pointed out that the Indian government is in process of waiving off the Nu 200,000 fine imposed on the airline in September.
    Meanwhile, travel document holders are still able to travel to India by road or rail, given lack of immigration checks, but may face difficulty in trying to exit India to a third country, if they choose to travel by air.
    It could not be determined how many travel document holders there are in the country.
    By Gyalsten K Dorji
    One Comment to “‘Bhutanese’ persona non grata to Indian immigration”
    1. Dalim Koti | June 8th, 2013 at 14:54:56
    It is unfortunate that Indian Immigration should denied entry for the Resident Document Holders. Why? India is the biggest democracy in the world and talks of freedom, liberty and fraternity. Is this the way, it should demonstrate to the people of the world?
    If the people have Resident Card, why should India deprive people to travel? Is it getting so restrictive to travel within India and from India to other countries? Is this the policy of the Indian Government?
    India must respect the Universal Human Rights and people who are deprived such rights must raise this issue at the international level or even in the International Court of Law?
    It is really a sad story.

  9. Now we hope only media can help us………………..

  10. Please anyone do help us…. is there blood running through my head or this shits about bhutanese census not making any senses……

  11. Census problem has been always a major issue to us the southern Bhutanese, counting just like it’s not a part of bhutan. Why the issue is taking so much long time when a person is born in bhutan , studied in bhutan and issued the citizen card and again terminated the citizen ship card because his or her father married a Indian citizenship card before 1983. A child who is totally out of this topic and think that father is genuine citizenship, than why census recorded of child is included to mother side n cancel the right of the children to be the citizen of country where they were raised up . If any officer reading all this issue of the own people who want to work in our own country and makes difference in society, do help and give the suggestion what can we do to make right regarding our census and get solved .

  12. Instead of blaming, our government need to resolve the internal issue at the earliest. If we have proper documents there is no reason for other countries to restrict our entry. Media should play its role without bias following the ethics and its principles. It is the duty of the media to act as the bridge between the government and the citizens, and provide voice to voiceless. In absence of RTI, citizens are unable to get the information on its progress and when the issue will be resolved. One or the other day, decision has to be passed. It cannot go on forever, early the better. Before the colossus falls down and before the Roman Forum ruins, it needs to be resolved.

    • It has been clearly stated with authentic statements. That’s the opportunity which is being waited by many people around. This sort of perspective can be the most pleasing one to remove the awful and tough situation of our people and making them the most cheerful people. I have a hope instead of despair by coming across this lines above. May this could be reviewed by our Government’s rulers.

  13. Kuzuzangpo la, now new problem has arised for noc if any one family member in jail, whole family members will not get security clearance, I tried more than 50 times I am cry every time inside without sleepless nights feeling it is end of happiness.

  14. I have 2 kids and elder one is rady for school but because of census problem I am having problem to send her in school.Actully I dont have any issue with my census but my wife have.All people/human beigns belive that Bhutan is peace and happy country but when those issue is not slove it feels like we in hell and alrady death in sorrow.Please I begging for help if theres any body to look after those problems.

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