With no candidates to contest in the general round of election from lower Gasa, Khatoed-Laya constituency, the voters from Khatoed are wondering which of the two candidates, both from Laya, would represent them better in the Parliament.

Tashi from Remey, Khatoed, said that it was important to give the opportunities to the people of upper Gasa this time. “Candidates that represented the constituency in the past years were from lower Gasa.

Unlike Laya, which is yet to be connected with a motorable road, lower Gasa has access to basic infrastructure and better health services. Choices for the people could not be stark.

Despite the place being connected with road since 2009, building a reliable road is a challenge to the dzongkhag due to its harsh weather situations and tough terrains.  Only two out of four gewogs are connected with roads today.

According to Population and Housing Census of Bhutan 2017, more than half, 54 percent of households in the Gasa, have access to the nearest road head in less than 30 minutes. However, a considerable proportion of households, 38.6 percent needs to travel for more than six hours to reach the nearest road point.

“Having included development plans in the dzongkhag’s fiscal plans, there is not much of a concern about lower Gasa being left out of development activities in the next five years. However, there is a need for the representatives to focus on poverty alleviation and youth unemployment issues,” said Tashi.

The business community in Gasa expects better basic infrastructure like proper drainage and vehicle parking. Gasa town has more than 20 shops and also branch offices of all the financial institutions.

Both the candidates of Khatoed-Laya have pledged to explore tourism opportunities, improve health services, complete road construction from Gasa to Laya and support marketing and production of organic produce in the dzongkhag, among others.

DNT’s Tenzin urged his people to vote for the right candidate. “Even if we have a minister representing the place, if the candidate is not competent and experienced, there won’t be any development and changes in the constituency.”

He said that this year is the only chance for him and the people to witness drastic changes in health services because of him being led by the president that has the best knowledge of health.

Tenzin said that he pledged to support new town development and to start Sanam Gongphel project that would help farmers find the market for their organic produce and help earn at least Nu 5,000 per week. “I studied in Gasa for 10 years. I understand the challenges and opportunities of the place better,”

DNT has promised the voters to start a trekking route to Lingzhi from Gasa.

DPT’s Changa Dawa said that his party had a financial scheme to support the farmers facing difficulties while producing organic produces and plans to explore means to provide organic pesticides. DPT also has a plan to open a basic health unit at Lungoo and build guesthouse for the tourists with proper sanitation facilities.

Changa Dawa said that Laya would see a difference in development activities “I would served the people no less than the former representatives. Moreover, I understand the situation of the community better because I grew up in my community.”

During the campaigns, he said that he shared with the people the concern about the disharmony the election process was bringing in.

“One should not resort to defaming other candidates to win. The choice of people should not divide us,” he said.

Nima | Gasa