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Opposition Leader outlines party’s achievement as the opposition

Opposing the government on the corporatization of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital and formation of Rural Entrepreneurship Development Corporation Limited (REDCL), raising concern on the nation’s exceeding debt burden, and opposing the Bhutan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Transport Agreement, among others, are some of the notable contributions of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) as the opposition party.

These were highlighted by Opposition Leader (OL), who is on an official tour in Samtse from January 7-13, to the public of Samtse Dzongkhag last Monday. Dr. Pema Gyamtsho was deliberating on the roles and works undertaken by DPT since it assumed the post of the opposition party in 2013.

He said the party serving as an opposition party has always kept the public concern in mind before voicing out anything.

“We had to averse to the government’s plan to corporatize JDWNRH. This, we thought, was totally uncalled for because this could affect the lives of our people gravely. Once corporatized, any patient referring the hospital has to pay certain amount as fees and charges. Meaning, nothing comes free of cost,” he said, adding that the constitution grants people the right to receive free medical services and medicines, and that Bhutanese public at large are still financially unprepared to pay and get medical services.

“Further, the government of the day did not have proper plans as to how to go about this,” he said, adding that there were no proper ways for the people to follow.

On the formation of REDCL, the OL said it has not benefitted the general public at large and established without completing legal formalities.

“Above all, we felt that no prior consultations with people and relevant stakeholders had been done by the government,” the OL told the congregation.

DPT during its tenure as the opposition party also rejected passing the BINN Bill in the parliament due to its unacceptable long term consequences for the country, according to the OL.

“We are not yet ready to comply with the provisions of the agreement. We will have numerous implications on culture and environment and security among others,” he explained.

Dr. Pema Gyamtsho also said that the party has voiced out against the central school system, which undermined the previous education policy of ‘Universal education for all’.

He said the establishments of central schools were biased as only the students in central schools receive all the facilities and not by students of other schools.

He added these students would lose the bond between parents and children and could be deprived of the holistic education from home and the community. “There is a chance that they may later think they do not owe anything to their parents,” he said.

As the opposition party, Dr. Pema Gyamtsho explained that the party members only voiced out considering the benefits of people at large. He added that the opposition has also voiced out during times when polices were framed which were detrimental to the nation’s sovereignty, peace and harmony.

“Otherwise we have always supported the government whenever necessary without disturbing its function,” he said.

The OL said that DPT has also always tried to be an exemplary opposition party.

“We have always supported the moves of the government in the last five years. The opposition has voiced out many times against the government, but never resorted to legal tussles. The role of the opposition party is not to oppose and hinder the functioning of the government. But sometimes, when people feel that the government is going wrong, the opposition has to step in and oppose or refuse certain propositions,” he explained.

Krishna Ghalley from Norgaygang, Samtse