Issues on debt and Rupee crisis dominated the question and answer hour of the common forum in Trongsa. The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (PDT) and People Democratic Party (PDP) candidates of the Nubi-Tangsibji constituency made good attempts to answer the questions raised by the public gathered at the common forum on Monday.
The DPT candidate a former National Assembly (NA) MP Nidup Zangpo and PDP candidate Kaentsho Sumpai Dendup started their common forum by thanking the people for their supports during the primary round of elections.
The people at the common forum raised the issues of foreign relations, huge national debt in the country, importance of having a capable party president, the helicopter and power tiller pledges.
Responding to the question on the national debt, the DPT candidate clarified that the debt was accumulated due to the construction of the hydropower constructions and farm road network.
DPT spent 54% of the budget on the construction of hydropower projects, construction of new school and maintenance of existing old school etc. It spent 20% to reduce Rupee crisis, 12%, for rural electrification, and DPT had spent 9% for setting up the Dungsam cement plant.
“It comes to 99% and 1% is left out because there are points to be added,” Nidup Zangpo said.
On the question of a need for capable party presidents Nidup Zangpo said, “It is important to have a capable president, for example, if our candidates are not capable than president will guide them. In DPT we can see more young candidates than PDP, but we can see now how they have improved in the past five years,” he said.
About pledges of helicopters and power tillers by the PDP he said presently the country needs more developmental works at this stage, and not helicopters and power tillers.
“We should focus more on construction of farm roads and blacktopping of roads if budget is available. DPT government have made relations with 52 countries because when we need help, there will be more help from these countries, and we have not made relation in order to get more aid like funds,” said Nidup Zangpo.
The PDP candidate was questioned on how his party’s pledges will be realistic and how it planned to solve the Rupee crisis if it comes to power.
Regarding the student loans pledged by PDP he said it will ensure the protection from unforeseen contingencies like death as it will collaborate with the Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan (RICBL) to cover such drawback.
“Buying of two helicopters is not a problem, for example, it is like buying two buildings in Thimphu. As we have good relations with India we will not face problem,” said PDP candidate Kaentsho Sumpai Dhendup.
He said that government has provided power tiller and people should generate funds by forming tshogpas. He added that whether PDP or DPT that comes to power, the Rupee crisis problem should be resolved by reopening the Bhutan Lottery.
“It will be helpful for our country, but I don’t know why DPT had stopped it and if we could reopen it than we can reduce the Rupee crisis problem in our country,” he said.
PDP candidate also spoke on strengthening areas of development, providing equity and power to the people, target to become a self sufficient nation, maintaining security and keeping diplomatic relations with foreign countries.
Tshering Dorji / Thimphu