Dharamsala: Parliamentarians Juchen Konchok Choedon and Geshe Lharampa Atuk Tseten of the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile have successfully completed their visitation program in Himachal Pradesh by visiting Bir Dege Settlement, Chauntra Nangchen Settlement, Tso Pema, Mandi, Pandoh Tashi Ling, Bhuntar Phuntsok Rabtenling, Kullu Youlokoe Tibetan Settlement, Dobhi Palrabling, Patlikuhl, and Manali from 11th to 27th January 2022.
Parliamentarians during their official visitation program in the aforementioned places have held many public talks and productive meetings with the general public comprehending the grievances of the general public at the ground level. Starting with a public talk at Bir Dege Settlement, on 13th January 2022, where Parliamentarian Geshe Lharampa Atuk Tseten spoke on the great accomplishments of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Parliamentarian Juchen Konchok Choedon spoke on the agenda of the first session of the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and on the current critical situation of Tibet, followed by a Question and Answer session.
On the next day, the Parliamentarians headed towards Men-Tsee-Khang in Chauntra visiting its research section, library and others. In a meeting attended by around 35 staff of Men-Tsee-Khang, Parliamentarians spoke on the above-mentioned topics and clarified that during their visitation program the Parliamentarians have been discussing with the relevant staff and Settlement Officers and have been following all the SOPs issued by the state government with regard to the Pandemic caused by COVID-19. The meeting was followed by a Q&A session where the MPs provided clarifications to the doubts raised by the general public. They then paid visits to Zabsang Choekhorling and Palyul Choekorling monasteries and sought blessings. Later that evening, the Parliamentarians visited Lily Tibetan Colony where they held a public meeting and spoke on the aforementioned topics and clarified the public’s doubts.
The Parliamentarians continued their visitation program on 14th January by visiting Dzongsar Shedra. The MPs were briefed on the administrative functioning of the institute and were taken to the temple by its Secretary. Likewise, monks of the Dzongsar Shedra shared their opinions and asked questions to the Parliamentarians after their public talks. They then visited Palpung Sherabling Monastic Seat where the Parliamentarians in the presence of monastery’s Khenpo (abbot) held a meeting with more than 300 monks. The MPs spoke on the previously mentioned topics, followed by a Q&A session. Khenpo Thupten Karma, the abbot of the monastery appreciated the Parliamentarians for their visit despite all the challenges and hosted a lunch for the MPs. After having lunch with the Khenpo, the Parliamentarians headed over to Bir Dege’s hall where the MPs gave public talks on the above-mentioned topics and answered questions asked by the public. Later at 4 pm on the same day, the Parliamentarians held a meeting with the Settlement Officer, LTA Chairperson, Heads and representative of the nearby monasteries, TCV School, Men-Tsee-Khang, Chushi Gangduk, Lily association, and others. With maximum hours of the meeting being dedicated for discussion, participants shared their opinions and concerns candidly which were accordingly recorded by the MPs.
On 16th January, the MPs visited Chauntra Tibetan Settlement and held a public meeting on the ground in front of the settlement office. Parliamentarian Geshe Lharampa Atuk Tseten spoke on the great accomplishments of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Parliamentarian Juchen Konchok Chodon spoke on the agenda of the first session of the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and on the current critical situation of Tibet. Following that the MPs paid visits to Bhumang Jampaling monastery, Chokling Monastery, Old Age Home, Health care center, and baby crèche of Chauntra.
On 18th January, the Parliamentarians continued their visitation program in Tso Pema visiting the holy retreat sites of Guru Rinpoche and meeting nuns living there. After speaking to the nuns, the MPs further paid visits to Guru Rinpoche’s sacred pilgrimage sites. Staring with a public meeting with the residents of Tso Pema, the Parliamentarians on the next day visited Zigar Ugen Choeling monastery, Nyingma monastery, and Drikung Wogmin Thupten Sherdrupling monastery. They then departed to Mandi where they visited the Tibetan market and were briefed on the difficulties faced by Tibetans living there. At around 6:30 pm, the Parliamentarians had a dinner meeting with Shri Virender Bhat, Deputy Mayor of Mandi Municipal Cooperation, Shri Vishal Thakur, Vice President of Indo Tibetan Friendship Association, Shri Dinesh Kumar, Secretary of ITFA, and Shri Nakul Kapoor, member of ITFA at Raj Mahal Hotel. Parliamentarians presented traditional Tibetan scarves to the guests on behalf of the Parliament, in response the Tibetan MPs were greeted with flowers and souvenirs by them. Local media like Punjab Kesari, Amar Ujala, HP24+, and Khabar Nama were present there to cover the meeting. Parliamentarian Juchen Konchok Choedon answered questions asked by the journalists and they left for Pandoh Tashi Ling.
On reaching Pandoh Tashi Ling on 20th January, the MPs visited the Settlement Office, Mani Lhakhang, and office of the Local Tibetan Assembly, and left for Dobhi in Manali. Parliamentarians accompanied by Settlement Officer, Vice Chairperson of LTA, Staff, and others visited Tibetans of Manali, Dickyiling, Ön Ngari Monastery, Sakya monastery, Sambhota Tibetan School, TCV Patlikuhl, Patlikuhl Tibetan colony, and Tibetans of 15th Mile in Manali on 21st January.
Parliamentarians then had a public meeting with the Tibetans residents of Kullu district on the next day at a hall of TCV Patlikuhl, they spoke on the above-mentioned topics and answered questions asked by the general public. The MPs paid a visit to Pangang Ritroe Ngagyur Samten Choeling monastery as well.
After visiting Tibetans of Dobhi Palrabling and having a public meeting with the residents there on 23rd January, they headed to Kullu Youlokoe Tibetan Settlement. There they visited the settlement’s monastery, school, office, and houses, at the same time discussed on the challenges faced by the people living at Dobhi.
On the last leg of their journey, the Parliamentarians reached Bhuntar Phuntsok Rabtenling on 24th January and inspected the renovation sites there. The MPs also met with the Settlement Officer, LTA Vice-Chairperson and members, members of the Regional Tibetan Freedom Movement, construction contractors, office secretary, accountant, and others discussed settlement and housing projects of Bhuntar.
During their visitation program, the MPs have visited 10 Tibetan settlements and colonies and had 12 public addresses and Q&A sessions where they exchanged ideas, recorded grievances, and listened to people’s concerns. The visitation program successfully concluded with a comprehensive inquiry about the conditions of the general public chronicled by the parliamentarians that will be forwarded to the related departments of the Central Tibetan Administration through the Standing Committee of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile for effective grievances redress.