The Village Tshogpa’s Dilemma

village head

Right from the beginning, finding candidates for the Tshogpa post proved a major hurdle in completing the local government establishment.

Villagers in the rural areas knew what the responsibility of the post entailed, and how it was not worth the salary the government had decided on. Initially, the government had decided Nu 1,000 a month as Tshogpa’s salary, which it later raised to Nu 2,000 and it was accompanied by repeated stress that it was a 100 percent increase.

Very few Tshogpa post aspirants came up during the first local government elections, and many cited low remunerations as the reason.

In fact, barely a few months since being elected in the first round of local government elections, some decided to throw in the towel.

More than 300 posts still remained vacant.

To attract more candidates to aspire for, what was becoming, a hard-to-fill position, the government jacked the salary up to Nu 5,000.

It took, what the government then called, an “extraordinary” meeting of the Cabinet to decide on the said amount.

The government also admitted, what it always denied as mere speculation, that the lack of candidates to vie for the post was because of poor remunerations.

More posts that were left vacant were filled in the second round of local government elections.

Today, with some posts still waiting to be filled, many are contemplating resigning.

In fact, many have even put in their resignations with the Gups.

They, however, find themselves trapped, following the Election Commission’s order that those wishing to resign should refund what it spent in the processes involved in electing them.
For an agrarian society that values field work and family time, the job demands far more than what they were willing to deliver to serve their communities.

Anything that threatens that bond, in this case the job that, for some, supposedly stirred up issues of marital fidelity between spouses, and they will nip the cause in the bud. Some have responded to the Commission’s order by not attending any gewog meetings and, basically, by not doing what they were elected for.

A few even questioned why they were disallowed from exploring other business activities, while still working as a Tshogpa, when some parliamentarians did just that.

Another salary hike, some have indicated, might help in their sticking around, although that seems difficult, especially when the country itself is faced with a financial crisis of a sort.

Actually, within the problems that some Tshogpas have listed in relation to their wishing to resign from the post, lie some solutions.

A deeper look into them and perhaps pieces to the puzzle will probably present themselves.

This story from KUENSEL

KUENSEL is Bhutan's national newspaper. Founded in 1967, KUENSEL is Bhutan's oldest newspaper.