Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

Samdrupjongkhar residents are unhappy that although the thromde has a housing crisis, candidates contesting for thrompon post in the upcoming thromde elections do not have pledges to address the problem.

A civil servant, Sangay Choden, 24, said that she was posted in the dzongkhag in October and is staying with her sister because it is challenging to find a house to rent.

She cannot understand the housing crisis, as the thromde has a small population. “Whose responsibility is it to look after housing and address the issues?”

Another civil servant, Jigme Choden, 28, said she has been staying with a friend for almost six months now because she didn’t find a house. She pays Nu 10,000 a month for the shared apartment.

She said construction projects are ongoing in the thromde, but most are commercial. “It becomes even more challenging when our relatives visit us.”

The thrompon candidates agreed that they haven’t made pledges about housing issues because housing agents already have plans to construct housing colonies in the thromde.

They said they would follow up with these housing agents on when they will construct the colonies and provide approvals if required.

Meanwhile, the common forum for the Samdrupjongkhar thromde was conducted at Dewathang and Samdrupjongkhar primary schools this week.

The common forums for the local government elections in Samdrupjongkhar ended with this:

A candidate, Thinley Namgay, 39, said he promises to address water issues by supplying water for 24 hours and constructing a water treatment plant at Bangkar with an additional water source for residents of Dewathang.

He said since there are no sports facilities in Dewathang, he would construct a futsal ground and initiate beautification of the town and make it a model town in the country. “Since most of the students have to walk more than five kilometres to school from their villages today, I will provide a bus service to students if I get elected as the thrompon.”

He also said he would allocate a separate budget for agriculture and livestock because most of the people in Dewathang under the thromde depend on them for their livelihood.

Another candidate, Ugyen Wangchuk, 34, also promised to provide continuous drinking water from a reliable source, promote community engagement, and inclusive decision-making.

He said he would address waste management issues, create employment opportunities, develop an efficient public transportation system, and promote local tourism.

Ugyen Wangchuk said since the Samdrupjongkhar town is a business centre for the eastern region, he would focus on renovating and developing the thromde as one of the most attractive towns in the country. “I would propose to defer the urban land tax, as Dewathang throm has fewer economic activities and landowners are predominantly farmers with limited incomes sources.”