A solution to solve the water shortage in the thromde will be a key determining factor

LG: The common forums for the Samdrupjongkhar thromde election, which ended yesterday, saw low turnout from the thromde’s six constituencies.

The common forums in four constituencies saw less than 20 voters each, while for the forums in two of the constituencies, less than five voters turned up for each.

It was a déjà vu moment for the voters of Samdrupjongkhar thromde. The same two candidates who contested in the 2011 elections are again, up against each other.

In 2011, voters chose Karma Sherab Thobgyal, 49, over Dechen Wangmo, 36, as their thrompon.

This time, Dechen Wangmo is stressing on the importance of women empowerment and participation, which is why she decided to give it another shot.

Dechen Wangmo, who is from Samdrupjongkhar Bar constituency, said the town still needs improvement, which she can provide. She pointed out that a woman is capable of shouldering responsibility but first, an opportunity has to be provided.

“Street lights, city bus, footpaths and drainage are basic facilities every thromde receives as part of the planned activities but what is important is thinking out of the box, and bringing development that is not in the 11th Plan,” she said. “There are other important existing issues that need immediate action.”

She pledged to create more business opportunities by opening the door to foreign direct investment and other interested parties. She also pledged to create more job opportunities for unemployed youth, to open a public grievance cell in the thromde office, and to hold consultations with the people, among other pledges.

Former thrompon, Karma Sherab Thobgyal, said although half of the 11th Plan activities have been implemented, he decided to re-contest because there is still work to do.

Karma Sherab Thobgyal, who is from Samdrupgatshel constituency, highlighted the developmental activities that took place under his guidance: improvement of the water supply system, road connectivity, and bridge and footpath construction, among others.

“I agree some issues still need to be solved but it is easier said than done because when the thromde was first established in Samdrupjongkhar, it took almost two years to have a proper office and staff,” he said. “Then when the office was finally established we had to work on budget availability, land and other related issues to implement any activities, so it took time,” he added. “But I will continue to work hard now that the office is set up with around 70 staff.”

He pledged to make Samdrupjongkhar thromde the commercial centre of the east, to develop Dewathang into an institutional town, to construct a multi-storey car park and implement all local area plans, among others.

Both candidates prioritised the thromde’s most pressing issue, which is water shortage and a housing crunch. Both promised 24-hour water supply.

Voters who attended the forum said that such forums are important in choosing the right thrompon.

However, many said that while both candidates were convincing with their pledges, they could have provided concrete ideas on solving the water shortage and housing crunch.

Yangchen C Rinzin |  Samdrupjongkhar 

Supported by Bhutan Media Foundation and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation