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Highlights from the Question Hour

Posted on :23 May 2017

Housing for all questioned

The Member from Bomdeling-Jamkhar constituency questioned the Prime Minister on the status of government’s pledge to ensure housing for all. In response, the Prime Minister clarified that the government’s pledge was not to provide housing to every individual but it was to render support to the people in building houses. He also touched on various programs of the government which had facilitated construction of houses for the people.


Notably, the Prime Minister highlighted that a total of 426 houses in rural areas were constructed with government providing corrugated galvanized iron roofs. Over one thousand people from rural areas were also trained in various aspects of construction and further mentioned that by next year a total of 500 units of residential quarters would be constructed in Phuentsholing.


Sentence on abuse of Spasmo Proxymin questioned

In a question raised to the Minister for Home & Cultural Affairs, the Member from Wamrong constituency questioned that some of the youth were sentenced for consuming Spasmo Proxymin (SP+). He added that it may not be correct to convict those youth as the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Act of 2015 does not mention the tramadol which was the main component of the drug and pleaded for the release of youth involved in the abuse of SP+ thus far and suggested for amendment of the Act.


Responding to the query, the Home Minister informed that although the drug in question was not mentioned in the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Act (NDPSSA) of 2015, it was an open drug called dextropropoxyphene which was no different from tramadol. The Minister had also informed that as per section 153 of the NDPSSA, the arrested people were treated in rehabilitation centres for same offence on four occasions only after which it was dealt as per the Penal Code.


High parking fees at Paro International Airport questioned

The Minister for Information & Communications was questioned on why exorbitant amount of parking fees were levied at the Paro International Airport by the Member from Gangzur-Minjey constituency. The Minister answered that the main objective of increasing the parking fees was to decongest traffic given the limited space in front of the arrival and departure terminals of the airport. The Minister also clarified that not all parking spaces in the airport were charged parking fees. He informed that parking space was categorized into zone 1, 2, 3 and 4, and added that parking at zone 3 and 4 which could accommodate up to 303 vehicles were free.


Lottery venture questioned as gambling

The Member from Nubi-Tangsibji constituency questioned the government’s take on its lottery venture. He said that like other forms of gambling, lottery was also a form of gambling at the national level with greater harm. In response, the Minister for Home & Cultural Affairs expressed that as per section 395 of the Penal Code, lottery ventures approved by the government were not considered as gambling. He also highlighted that the lottery venture of the government has created 192 jobs and generated gross profit of over nine million in the past five months which was benefiting the economy.


Bus services to all Gewog questioned

Government’s pledge to introduce bus services to all Gewogs were questioned by the Member from Dremetse-Ngatsang constituency. In his response, the Minister for Information & Communications said that in places such as Gasa were private entities are not forthcoming to introduce transport service due to low profit were provided subsidy by the government.


The Minister informed that at present 225 passenger buses were operating on 66 routes in the country. It was also said that the government has not been able to introduce transport services in all Gewogs mainly because some of the roads were being constructed while some  needed the approval of the Department of Roads considering safety issues as required by the rules.


Status of BBS as Public Broadcaster questioned

The Member from Panbang constituency reported that it was heard that the government was considering downgrading the role of Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) as a Public Broadcaster and establish a private broadcasting service. He therefore questioned the Minister for Information and Communications on the government’s position on the matter. The Minister answered that it was not the government but the BBS who had expressed to become a public broadcaster as their status was currently unclear resulting in operational challenges.


The Minister clarified that the government has so far not taken any stand on the matter as the BBS was in the process of drafting a Bill which will then be submitted to the government. He further informed that the government has not considered introducing any private broadcasting agencies either.



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