Gungtongpas the imagined social thorns of Eastern dzongkhags.
Reality is that East has the largest population and if not from the East then where else people will be coming to inhabit the urban centres that government has built on the farm lands in the West and South. Should people of neighbouring countries fill our towns?
There is a lot of grumbling from the local authorities of the East against those who move to greener pastures. They give a lot of reasons such as community development and labour taxation but the actual reason is that they have less people to boss around.
The rural communities in the West and in the South of Bhutan also suffer the same problems of community development and labour shortages and these regions as yet do not have gungtong problems as such. There will be migration to the urban centres because jobs for educated young generation are in the commercial and urban centres. And older parents move for family togetherness,to take care of home and children of employed family members and for overall sustenance of livelihood.
Bhutan has to come to social ,political and economic terms with the unavoidable trend of migration. Just as community schools are being closed due to dwindling number of students so must community needs be based on actual requirement. Maybe the rural settlements need to be merged to facilitate concentration of development of infrastructures. Why have so many small villages scattered all over the country? Create a model farming village in the same geog or Dzongkhag and offer the opportunity to settle within a larger community.
Those who want to farm,let them farm on the most fertile lands and those who seek other means of legally permissible vocations for livelihood let them do. Do not hinder them. The ancestral family homes and land are roots of anchor for the migrants regardless of their place of residence. Do not think of confiscating
the the ancestral holdings of the gungtong as thoughtlessly suggested by some. The ancestral home and hearth inspire the national sense of belonging and duty. Forgo pettiness for overall national peace and stability. Do not be too eager to uproot Bhutanese in the Kingdom of Bhutan
In which ever part of the Country we reside, we are still all citizens of the same nation and King.. If there is so much local animosity against gungtongpas then what about those that try to find livelihood outside the country. Local resentment may be are being aroused by local officials who may be engaged in accruing illicit gains on the pretext of absent gungtongpas.
Sangey of Haa Wangcha 23rd Oct,2014