The 100 units of free electricity and business tax waiver on rural businesses would be reinstated, if People’s Democratic Party (PDP) comes back to power, according to the president.

The party president, Tshering Tobgay, clarified to the people of Tsirang and Dagana that these incentives are withdrawn with the end of government tenure.

However, he said that the communication tax of five percent would remain as it is. “If you buy a voucher of Nu 100, it is just Nu 5 tax,” he said and pleaded the people to pay this small amount to the government as a token in return of free electricity and rural business tax. “But for the big businesses and rich, it is a real tax as they use the services most.”

People can expect another power tiller in each chiwog in addition to the subsidy for those willing to buy power tillers, if PDP comes back.

The president said that when the gewog is equipped with power tillers and vehicles, every gewog would get an automobile workshop to repair and maintain them.  “In addition, fuel and LPG would be sold at gewog centre.”   

PDP will also initiate a guaranteed buy-back scheme of agricultural produce to purchase farm produce and facilitate agriculture trade.

This, he said, would be done by the expansion of farm shops.

The manifesto states that PDP will build a communal warehouse in every gewog.

PDP pledged that by 2023, every chiwog will have a farm road.

The president said electric fences would be made available to everyone provided the people themselves are willing to work and maintain it.

“As for the Rural Enterprise Development Corporation, it’s been just three years but it has benefitted thousands of people in all the gewogs whereas the country’s largest bank has 50 years of history and so far it has not been able to come to the gewogs,” he said.

Despite criticism, he said that former government moved on. “Now that we have experience, we will inject more fund and expand REDCL. In addition, special credit facilities would be provided.”

PDP has also pledged to increase the crop compensation and institute a proper mechanism.

In Tsirangtoe, close to 200 supporters have turned up to observe the campaign and people were excited about the pledges like increasing of gewog development grant from Nu 2M to Nu 5M, gewog project of Nu 20M, backhoe, helipad and central schools.

A villager said people have to see what other parties have to offer.

In Damphu town, the turnout was even more.

The president said that these pledges are just gewog specific and that people in the gewog shall know. “I cannot finish explaining all the national level, regional level and dzongkhag level pledges.”

He said there are different things in store for youth, women, senior citizens and the private sector.

Tshering Tobgay also said charging for medical service was never the intent of the former government while referring to the corporatization of JDWNRH.

He said that people have cooked things to make the matter worse.

In addition to health pledges to provide vehicle and doctors in every BHU and turning the national referral hospital into the super specialist hospital, he said the health trust fund would be doubled. This will ensure all health services would come for free. 

In Drujegang, Dagana, an equal number of supporters turned out.

The president will return to Thimphu today for the presidential debate after two separate meetings in Dagana and Dagapela.

Tshering Dorji | Tsirang