The president of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) met with supporters and members of the public from Chapcha gewog in Chukha at Chapcha middle secondary school yesterday afternoon.

Earlier in the morning, he held a meeting with members of the business community of Tsimasham and the people of Bjachok gewog.

At Chapcha high school, one of the farmers shared with the DPT president that farm roads in the village need to be blacktopped. “We need a BHU in Shemagangkha village. The only BHU in the gewog is located in Chapcha which is far from Shemagangkha village,” he said.

The villagers said that the population in Shemagangkha village is increasing because of the school in the village. “So we need better roads and health facilities in the village,” one of the villagers said.

The villagers shared with the DPT president about lack of adequate drinking water in the gewog and asked him if the party had plans to solve the problem. Marketing of potatoes, the villagers said, was also becoming difficult due to lack of good prices in Phuentsholing.

The DPT president said it was possible for the government to blacktop the road. “People need not worry, we will solve those problems,” he said.

The DPT, he said, will upgrade the existing BHU and see the possibility of establishing new BHUs. The party, he promised, also plans to provide mobile clinic services to the people.

Pema Gyamtsho said new options should be explored for better income and marketing of potatoes. DPT, he said, would promote the use of warehouses and cold stores for better marketing of potatoes.

The DPT president also highlighted the party’s pledges to the people. “We will waive off the 5 percent green tax on the mobile voucher,” he said.

He met with members of the business and the public of Phuentsholing on August 30.

In Phuentsholing, he said the party was criticised when the public debt was Nu 95 billion (B) in 2013. Pema Gyamtsho said at the meeting that the DPT government had put in place a highly prudent debt policy, whereby commercial debt was contracted only in the case of highly viable commercial projects such as the hydropower projects.

The then government, he said, had availed highly concessional loans from international development institutions like the World Bank, ADB, the JICA and IFAD among others.

“These international institutions, given their mandate, provide loans virtually free of interest with very long gestation periods. They are not available at will to any one country, but are rationed according to several criteria,” he said.

The DPT president told the people that the then government had managed to get more of these free-loans because of the high ratings it received for its economic management. “The DPT government followed its sound policy which were overseen by the IMF and the World Bank.”

He said that the total external public debt in 2013 stood at Nu 94.867. In the financial year 2017-18, he said the public debt increased by 81 percent to Nu 172.4B.

According to DPT, the non-hydro debts, which the DPT government availed from the international development institutions, were almost-free loans because of the government’s excellent performance. Such loans the DPT states were used for to build socio-economic infrastructure such as rural electrification, roads, water supply, urban development, health and education.

The DPT president on August 29 visited Samtse where he said that the first democratically elected government had constructed over 5,200 kilometres of roads, including those that connect the gewog centres.

“Many people are seen driving Boleros today, all because there are roads far and wide,” he said at a meeting with the people of Dorakha.

Pema Gyamtsho said that the party had promised to field a strong candidate for the Dorakha constituency and that accordingly former education minister Thakur Singh Powdyel was declared as the constituency’s candidate.

The country, he said, was at a crossroad and that a right party had to be chosen. “If you make mistake in electing a right party, you will regret for next five years, or even more,” he said.

MB Subba | Chapcha