Ugyen Dorji

National Council (NC) candidates of Zhemgang dzongkhag pledged to reduce poverty in the dzongkhag by promoting eco-tourism.

They said that Zhemgang has the highest poverty rate compared to other dzongkhags. However, the dzongkhag has huge potential in tourism.

The candidates shared their pledges and vision during a public debate held on March 23. Zhemgang has five candidates.

According to the National Statistics Bureau’s (NSB) Poverty Analysis report 2022, Zhemgang’s poverty rate stands at 41.4 percent which is the highest compared to other dzongkhags.

The candidate from Trong gewog, Thinley Jamtsho said with his decades of experience in formulating and implementing development plans, he pledged to uphold the Constitution with the highest level of integrity and support the promotion of community-based tourism and eco-tourism.

Zhemgang is one of the richest dzongkhag in terms of biodiversity, where the endangered animal and species live, and the four major rivers of the country confluence. The rare mahseer lives in those rivers and has rafting services.

Buli Tsho, Duenmang hot spring, and the cane produce have potential for tourism and can enhance income and generate employment for the youths.

He said that he would support the promotion of youth entrepreneurship, skilling, and self-employment, and support the development of dzongkhag and yenlag throm.

Thinley Jamtsho also pledged to support targeted household poverty intervention.

He served as a planning officer in Zhemgang and Research Officer with the Centre for Bhutan and GNH Studies. He has a master’s degree in Public Administration.

Tshering Tshomo, 39, said since the mandate of NC members is to formulate laws, she will make laws in line with the gross national happiness principles to benefit the people.

She said that some laws are non-stringent and troublesome for the people to follow, so if she gets elected she assures to review the formulation of the laws and make them untroublesome.

The candidate also promised that she will visit the constituency once a year and will explain the laws enacted and policies reviewed in the house to the people.

She said that if she gets elected she will share concerns and problems raised by the people to the house without hesitation and consult with relevant ministries and agencies.

She said that Zhemgang has the highest poverty rate and that the solution to solve poverty is tourism. She pledged and promised to promote sustainable tourism.

Tshering Tshomo was nominated from Sonamthang, Ngangla gewog and has a bachelor’s degree in Education from Paro College of Education.

She served as a teacher for 12 years and has been in the travel business for more than three years.

Bjoka gewog’s candidate Tshering Yeshi has LLB and Postgraduate Diploma in National Law.

He said that he would ensure the security and safety of the nation and the transparency and accountability of elected officials.

If he is elected, he pledged fair and just laws and no policy corruption. “Citizen Engagement in policy-making is given priority and due respect,” he said.

Tshering Yeshi, 46,  pledged to ensure economic prosperity by promoting regional tourism with balanced regional growth and ensuring quality and motorable farm roads.

He promised to review the policies regarding the reduction in unemployment and rural-urban migration issues.

The 43-year-old Sonam Leki from Tsheldang in Nangkor gewog committed to upholding the mandate of the house of review.

If Kheng-Rig-Namsum people elected him as their representative, he pledged to fight for people-centric public service delivery and facilitate agriculture and tourism interventions.

“If I get elected I will support tourism and ensure that the people are benefited from good laws. For example, today the public is facing difficulties while implementing laws like Tobacco and minerals,” he said.

Sonam Leki served as a teacher and has a Bachelor of Education from Samtse College of Education. He also contested in the 2018 NC election.

Phangkhar gewog’s candidate, Samphel Dendup pledged holistic development in collaboration with the people to make the dzongkhag self-reliant and solve youth-related issues like unemployment.

He said he would focus on fulfilling people’s aspirations and shoulder the responsibility of framing and amending laws and regulations. “Heed people’s aspirations and priorities and work accordingly to solve the issues.”

If he is elected he will review national policies through public consultations and motion in the house and shall review financial and banking policies with respect to interest rate, collateral, and accessibility.

Samphel Dendup said that he would develop a long-term roadmap and design strategic policies to reduce the rate of poverty in the affected dzongkhags.

Goshing, Shingkhar, and Bardo gewogs did not nominate any candidate.

According to the Election Commission of Bhutan, Zhemgang dzongkhag has 20,522 eligible registered voters.