Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) president Lotay Tshering said his party would change Gelephu and the neighbouring areas more than what it underwent in the past 10 years.

He said this to a crowd that spilled over the Chuzergang gewog meeting hall, and similar crowds at the meetings in Umling gewog, and Pelrithang School in Gelephu yesterday. 

“Gelephu has remained dormant and shackled by the fear of security issues while similar border towns have prospered,” Lotay Tshering said. 

Usually the DNT president speaks mainly on the broad pledges of his party but in Gelephu he spoke at length about the local pledges and his party’s candidate. 

He said that the Mao river bridge which will connect the four gewogs and the drungkhag office on the other side with the main town would be built.

“It has been pledged in earlier elections but this time we will build it,” he said. 

If the riverbanks are treated, much of the area could be reclaimed and converted for recreational and other purposes, Lotay Tshering said. 

DNT president said that everyone in the drungkhag including farmers would benefit from his party’s reforms to immigration. 

The party will allow hire of cheap day labourers from across the border, which could help meet the shortage at home. 

The party pledged to open immigration checkpoints at various locations in the border entry points. 

He said that the present immigration checkpoint at the border gate would be moved further inside to facilitate easy and free movement with simple permits. Today, obtaining a permit to hire labour takes two days, he said. 

Lotay Tshering also said that the 500 metre green zone inside along border would be done away with. “This could help bring development activities,” he said. 

If the Gelephu airport were made into an international airport, it would boost business in the area and turn the town into a prosperous one. 

Bringing such change to the thromde and easing the security issues, if there were any, would be much easy if the candidate from the town was a minister. 

DNT’s candidate Karma D Wangdi has serve as the National Council member from the dzongkhag between 2008 and 2013. 

“He is an able person and a strictly committed one to ensure that he can leave a legacy of bringing real change to the place,” he said. 

The president travelled to Tsirang yesterday and will campaign in Tsirang and Wangdue on the way to Thimphu today for his televised public debate. 

Tshering Palden | Gelephu