If it’s to do with Gelephu or Sarpang, then River Mao, locally called Mao Khola always gets a mention. And if it did not feature in developmental talks, then something is really missing in the debate or conversation.
As expected, every common forum in Sarpang did not end without the candidates making a pitch to do this and that with the river that is hugely infamous for its tendency to swell and flood during monsoons.
During the Gelephu debate, the construction of a bridge over Moa Khola by was discussed as expected by the candidates.
Both candidates, People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) Gopal Gurung and DPT’s Karma D Wangdi promised the construction of a bridge over Mao khola if their party comes to power. Besides that, the PDP candidate talked about Wangtse Chhirpel talked while the DPT candidate talked about equity and justice, self-reliance, and Gross National Happiness.
Gopal Gurung said, construction of Mao Khola Bridge is would benefit four gewogs and if PDP comes to power, it would study and make sure it is started within five years term.
Similarly Karma D Wangdi said one of the most important things is Mao Khola Bridge.
“This time we will be constructing the bridge as it is also reflected in DPT’s plan. For that the budget we have got and required is also worked-on. Which is why we will anyhow construct it,” he said.
The PDP candidate asked how DPT would construct the bridge since it has been saying there is no budget.
To this Karma D. Wangdi said, “I don’t remember saying we don’t have budget, but for 11th plan, we haven’t gathered as of now.”
He said what we have would be from the tax collected from people in the country, some from hydropower projects.
“And from there we might have little profit but as per the DPT’s 11th plan, we would require huge amount (almost Nu 234bn) and that amount we don’t have at the moment, whoever comes to power, one of the main responsibilities of the new government is to gather this budget,” he added.
However, he said DPT in the past five years made good relationship with more countries and much more stronger relationship with India government compared to past which is very important and have worked hard to keep the friendship.
He said the Indian Government has provided more support during the 10th plan because of the strong bond, strong friendship and at the same time he said what one has to know is that we have strong relations because of our kings since the time of third king.
“As of now, we haven’t gathered budget as such, but if DPT comes to power and is mandated to form a new government, for the construction of bridge we kept around Nu 500mn in our plan,” he said.
A question was thrown from the floor to Karma D. Wangdi on how a separate budget for construction of Mao khola is feasible when there isn’t budget as of now for 11th plan while a loan of Nu 85bn is already in place.
The DPT candidate said loan is not wasted but used on hydro power projects like Punatsangchhu project, Mangdechhu and Dagachhu project.
“In the coming future we will be making profit and by 2020 we will be able to repay,” he said.
Apart from that, many issues like security problems, census problems and other developmental activities were also brought up for discussion during the debate.