Yesterday, we marked the first anniversary of the 21st September earthquake. It gave us reason to recall the widespread destruction that the earthquake unleashed on the Eastern parts of our country, and the untold sufferings that our people had to endure.
It also gave us reason to celebrate the indomitable spirit of the Bhutanese people. During the past year, thousands of homes and countless lives have been rebuilt, as people from all walks of life – famers, civil servants, the clergy, the business community, armed forces, students, and civil society – throughout our kingdom, came together and joined the massive relief efforts that were initiated and personally led by His Majesty the King.
To be sure, a lot of work still remains to be done. A majority of the damaged houses are still under reconstruction. And His Majesty’s Peoples’ Project is still on a war footing helping earthquake victims rebuild their lives.
So, yesterday, as a member of parliament, I had reason to be concerned. It’s already been a year since the earthquake, and relief works continue. Plus nobody knows when the next big natural calamity will strike. Yet we, MPs, have not yet established the Relief Fund, which according to Article 14 Section 12 of the Constitution:
Parliament shall establish a relief fund and the Druk Gyalpo shall have the prerogative to use this fund for urgent and unforeseen humanitarian relief.
The ruling party and the government must act immediately to establish the relief fund. Otherwise, the opposition party may feel compelled to introduce a private bill to establish the important fund.