Public questions on diplomatic relations and Rupee shortage

The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidates of the Chumey-Ura constituency fielded and responded to every public query confidently during the common forum on Wednesday, where issues on relationship with India and Rupee crisis dominated the Q&A session.

The DPT candidate is the former National Assembly (NA) MP of the constituency, Karma Wangchuk, and the PDP candidate is the former National Council (NC) MP Tshewang Jurmey.

People at the common forum asked the DPT candidate about the issues related to Bhutan-India relations, taxi drivers’ concerns with regard to city buses, Bhutan Education City, the promises made in 2008-one of which was to transform Chumey into a town, ambulance in the BHUs, etc.

On the issue of Bhutan-India relations, the DPT candidate said, “Regarding relationship with the Indian government, we share a good relationship. The people should not worry on this issue. When DPT was a ruling government, India had given lots of assistance to our country like budgets, and we had also requested Indian government to continue supporting our country regardless of who gets to be the ruling government.”

With respect to the concerns expressed by taxi drivers he said if there is bus service, it can carry about 30 people which will help the environment, and it will also benefit poor people because the rate is lower than taxi fares.

At the same time, he reassured the taxi drivers they should not be worried as people will travel in taxis too.

On the topic of the Bhutan Education City (BEC), Karma Wangchuk said it is an issue raised in every common forum. Nevertheless, he said the NA representative in the east had asked for the BEC to be set-up in the east and the Bumthang representative asked for it to be done in Bumthang, but this was not a choice to be made by either of them.

“We are not the ones who chose the place. It was under the authority of the education ministry (MoE) who formed a BEC committee and decided on these issues. They selected this place because it had many government lands and it is near to the airport,” said the DPT candidate.

Regarding BHUs, he said as certain criteria are required to be fulfilled in order to get the ambulance, Ura BHU-I got the ambulance, but in case of Chumey BHU it did not fulfill the criteria to get the vehicle.

In the matter of town planning in Chumey, he said the government had given all the rights to local government.

During the Q&A session, the PDP candidate was questioned on the Bhutan Lottery issues, Rupee crisis, and why he is participating in the election process again, especially since the former NC MP had also made a second attempt for a seat in the upper house during the April NC elections.

On Bhutan lottery case, the PDP candidate said, “One of the PDP pledges, it comes to power, is to reopen the Bhutan Lottery to reduce the Rupee crunch problem in our country. It generates about Rs 300 million annually, but was closed because of corruption cases. If we reopen it we will investigate the corruption practices and send it to ACC and after the analysis, we will reopen it.”

The PDP candidate said the Rupee crunch is causing problems for people. This concern was first raised by the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) and was followed by the DPT government.

“You should know that, in general, we faced problems due to Rupee crunch,” he said.

He added that his decision to re-run as a candidate in the elections is because he feels he can contribute to the nation and people with the experience and knowledge acquired during his term as an MP in the NC.

“I am not in my 60s, I am only 32 years of age, it is a very crucial time to serve our country, and I am concerned for the country. That is why I have participating in the elections,” said Tshewang Jurmey.

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