Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Calling it zeal to serve more and bring holistic change in the town, Phuentsholing Thrompon Uttar Kumar Rai said he would contest for a second term.

Uttar Kumar Rai, 39, said Phuentsholing is the country’s oldest town but it remained frozen in time for many years without any good changes.

“As the population kept on increasing, the town became chaotic and problematic to the residents. This needs to change.”

Thrompon claims that Phuentsholing before and after 2016 is different.

He said prior to joining the thromde in 2016, only two out of 11 total Local Area Plans (LAP) were developed. The nine remaining LAPs, he said, have completed now.

“Development in these LAPs will release the huge pressure on thromde,” he said, adding that it will eradicate housing and other issues permanently and benefit all the evacuees from across the border.

The extensive development, he said, will bring permanent structures in place and give several advantages to local government in terms of revenue and financial sustainability.

“I want to re-contest to fast-track the developments beyond the core town and transform it into an organised one,” he said.

“My experience will help me expedite developments. This encourages me to re-contest and serve my community and people again.”

Why five more years?

Uttar Kumar Rai said serving five years under different circumstances has made him understand Phuentsholing and its residents.

“I understand the issues, opportunities and working system better. I am confident to take extra responsibilities and serve better,” he said.

Should he get re-elected, he said he could immediately start working—without losing valuable time of learning.

“I am the right investment.”

Major developments

The Thrompon derives his confidence of winning a second term from developing the 11 LAPs, which he says is the biggest achievement.

“LAP reviews to improvise, topo surveys, geo-tech studies, and technical designs were also done and even implementation has started, ‘’ he said.

“This basic plan will remain for years from now and address pertinent issues of the thromde and its people.”

The multi-level car parking, integrated vegetable market, mini dry port, multi-sport complex, four-lane road and two large bridges in the town, all primary LAP roads, affordable houses for low-income group (and those who resided across the border), and inter-connected footpaths are some of the projects that the Thrompon claims to have completed.

He claims that in the last five years he had renovated storm drainage, carried out beautification and landscaping works, ensured round the clock water supply and installed Close Circuit TVs (CCTV) in the town. Recreational parks, community hall, he said had also been constructed.

The Thrompon said the construction of mega projects, the Phuentsholing Township and Development Project (PTDP), Northern Bypass Package-II and Mega Dry Port in Pasakha, and Phuentsholing-Chamkuna four-lane highway are in full swing.

Pandemic experience

Uttar Kumar said Phuentsholing is the busiest town facing multiple challenges today due to the pandemic. As the country’s largest trading hub, the town shouldered the biggest responsibility of delivering essential goods without delays and hindrances.

“Everyone was caught off guard,” he said.

“However, what truly came as the biggest inspiration and motivation was His Majesty The King’s direct involvement and guidance.”

When the first lockdown was triggered by an outbreak at the mini dry port in Phuentsholing, the Thromde was criticised for not having concrete plans including basic data on the residents of its 11 LAPs. The Thrompon said it has also taught people ample lessons, adding that the pandemic has given them the opportunity to learn.

“Due to this pandemic, we have come to realise that Phuentsholing is a lifeline of the entire nation, as everything, from salt to oil and construction materials are supplied from here,” he said.

“The Thromde should have a long-term vision so that we will not face the problems we faced today.”

Will the voters agree to his vision and claims of achievements will be seen later this month when they go to vote.