The people of Chhoekhor_Tang questioned the Prime Minister and Chhoekhor_Tang’s Member of Parliament (MP) Dawa regarding the unfulfilled pledges made during the Chhoekhor_Tang bye-election in 2020. People are especially keen on the pledges concerning the construction of a motorable bridge towards Thowadrak and a mobile network tower for highlanders in Chhoekhor Toed.
“Last year, I and my Tshogpa friend had to walk till Murti Zam at around 11 pm to help a group of pilgrims whose bus was stuck in the mucky road. This is the kind of problem we face with the Thowadrak road, so we want to remind all concerned about the pledges made to improve the road,” said Leki, a former Tshogpa reminding the Prime Minister and MP Dawa about their pledges during their recent visit to the constituency.
People want the government, which was rewarded with an additional seat in the parliament, to deliver all their vows. In Tang, people are uncompromising about the government’s offer to build a road to Thowadrak and a bridge to connect the road over the Murti River.
“After the old bridge became rickety last year, the lama at Thowadrak monastery had to find a foreign donor to build a new wooden bridge. I want to suggest that, now that a bridge has already been built, we want the government to lay base course on the approach road,” said Ugyen Rinzin, a resident of Khangrab at Tang Gewog.
The Prime Minister didn’t give an assertive response to the gathering. MP Dawa in a call interview said he is still working with the agencies concerned to get the works done. In Chhoekhor, people shared stories about how the lack of a mobile network is making the lives of the highlanders difficult.
“The yak herders in Bumthang have to stay for around 8 months towards the country’s northern borders. When people become sick, they have to walk for a day towards the army outpost from Gangkar Puensum to use its wireless facility. Likewise, in Pasamlung, besides the network issue, there is no proper place for helicopters to land for medical evacuation as well, so people have to carry the patients on their back till Gomthang,” said Pema Wangchen, a resident of Nangsiphel-Zangling-Zhabjethang chiwog of Chhoekhor Gewog.
He also said network coverage is important for people who come to fetch Cordyceps annually in the northern highlands.
In response, MP Dawa said the government has been working on the pledge and the Information and Communications Minister has already written to Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA) to invite tenders.
“BICMA has called me and even written to me about the project. However, they have stated that they can’t begin the work immediately due to budget constraints currently as the available budget has already been allocated. However, they said they will start working from September onwards,” said Dawa, Chhoekhor-Tang MP.
Meanwhile, the government has begun blacktopping projects on three farm roads in Chhoekhor and Tang as pledged. Base course laying works are underway currently. Actual blacktopping works are expected to begin by next month.
Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said despite not being eligible, the government started blacktopping the farm roads as it is one of their bye-election pledges.
“Some of you might be sceptical about the eligibility. There is no need to worry about it. There are around 9,000 kilometres of farm roads in 205 Gewogs that have to be laid with a base course and we have started doing that since last year. After the base course project, roads that cater to a larger population will be blacktopped,” said the Prime Minister.
The Druk Nyamrup Tsogpa still has over a dozen pledges unfulfilled in Chhoekhor_Tang including road construction for three monasteries, and widening of the Nangar-Chamkhar highway and establishing a trade office in Bumthang among others. MP Dawa said he is trying his best to achieve all the pledges but some could be appropriated as per the need.
Meanwhile, blacktopping of the three farm roads and providing specialists are partially fulfilled as actual blacktopping works haven’t begun and a medical specialist is yet to join Wangduecholing Hospital.
Edited by Phub Gyem