LPG and Kerosene subsidy make for discussion bullet-points in Punakha

The recent withdrawal of subsidy on LPG and Kerosene by the Indian government (GOI) is news that is not likely to leave the lips of people in a hurry, as it affects the day to day life of the people.

It is also quite evident that the issue is not likely to lose steam with the politicking entities, the candidates of the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) going full swing.

Keeping this dilemma in mind, a concerned villager in the Lingmukha-Toedwang constituency questioned the candidates on possibility of reduction in price of LPG and Kerosene.

PDP candidate Chimi Dorji said that problems of LPG is not the only worrying symptom, as the discontinued Excise Duty refund and the reduction in Chukha power tariff are equally alarming.

He said that the relationship between Bhutan and India is becoming weaker. He further promised that, if elected, PDP’s first priority will be on stabilizing the economy.

He cleared the doubts of people on the purchase of helicopters, power tillers and utility vehicles. He further said that without depriving the fund allocated for the agricultural sector, the party shall fulfill their promises made.

He also talked about the cost escalation of hydropower plants – Mangdechu by 25% and Punatsangchhu by 250% more which accounts for Nu 930bn compared to the earlier Nu 390bn.

To strengthen the local government (LG) he said that the budget allocation would be 40% for the central government and 60% for the LG whereas earlier it was vice-versa. He plans to solve the water shortages for irrigation purpose, undertake upgradation of schools, and extension of roads.

The DPT candidate from the constituency, Dr Sonam Wangyel Wang shared his view on criticisms that DPT has received as the former ruling government on the relations between India and Bhutan. He requested the people not to make repeated statements on it.

Regarding the corruption cases concerning the ex-National Assembly (NA) Speaker and ex- minister of home and cultural affairs (MoHCA), he responded by saying that there is nobody above the laws of kingdom of Bhutan and shall be dealt as per the law.

Dr Sonam Wangyal Wang has a master’s degree and a Ph.D in natural resource policy and management from Cornell University, USA. He served as the head of Nature Conservation Division (NCD) for four years. Before opting for politics, he was the director of the Royal Education Council (REC).

Chhimi Dorji has master’s degree in planning and administration and a B.Ed diploma. He has worked as a teacher and a principal. He served as Dzongrab in Chhoetse dzong, Trongsa before resigning to join politics.

The candidates concluded their public debate by giving choice to the people of Lingmukha-Toedwang, with regard to their votes on July 6.

The constituency has 6,084 eligible voters.

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