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Residents register their attendance to attend the common forum in Phongmey in Trashigang
Residents register their attendance to attend the common forum in Phongmey in Trashigang

Voters push their agenda with candidates

Villagers of Jangmanma and Gaziri in Phongmey, Trashigang have been requesting for two bridges for the past 10 years to connect them with Pakaling in Radhi and to Trashigang.

These villages are on the bank of Gamrichu and have to use temporary bridges.

“For us it is much easier to go across the streams to Radhi than go up to the road between Phongmey and Radhi because we have to make a decent climb to the road,” a farmer said.

Another farmer, Pema Wangda, said that there were stretches of road still in poor condition. “We need those fixed and the road kept open to traffic for all times,” he said.

These issues, according to villagers, were proposed to be included in the 12th Plan.

On September 1, the four candidates of Radhi-Sakteng constituency presented their pledges relating to these needs to more than 70 people from Phongmey at a common forum at the gewog centre.

Phongmey gewog for a long time had problem of commuting in summer because of Yudiri and Dungjuri. The area is marshy and prone to landslide, therefore some parts of its road is still not been blacktopped.

With former Member of Parliament from the constituency, Jigme Wangchuk from DPT replaced by Tashi Dorji, the predominantly DPT stronghold has become an intense battleground with possibility for voters to change side.

The former bank employee is related to PDP candidate Gongsar K Chhopel, a former environment officer, and Ten Gyamtsho of BKP, another civil engineer. All three are from Radhi.

Having served in Trashigang for several years as a roads engineer, DNT’s Dorji Tshering from Sakteng has the advantage of being close to the people.

PDP’s candidate, Gongsar K Chhopel, has visited almost every household in the constituency.

BKP’s Ten Gyamtsho has on his side a seasoned coordinator in the constituency.

Phongmey and Merak gewogs, that do not have candidates, could make the difference.

Unlike in other constituencies, the four candidates spent much time speaking on how they would improve roads, health services, and build bridges.

“No matter how grand your pledges are at the national level, if the candidates and the coordinators cannot mention specifics at the village or gewog level it does not make sense,” a party coordinator said.

The Gamri hydropower project is pledged by the parties except for Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party whose candidate elaborated on how the communities’ roads, bridges and schools would be improved.

In Khamdang Gewog in Trashiyangtse, a villager said that borrowing more created more debt, which was dangerous for the country. He asked the DNT president Lotay Tshering how his party would ensure this did not happen.

Lotay Tshering said that re-appropriating the budget, including review of the tax administration system and domestic revenue sources was needed.

Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party president Neten Zangmo was asked should it form the government, would it consider construction of a road to Jangphutse.

Neten Zangmo said road proposal would have to be reviewed.

Tshering Palden |  Trashigang

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