English | Dzongkha Sunday, May 16, 2021

Issues related to water and road conditions dominate the public debate for Thimphu, Thromde Elections

Apr 13, 2021

Issues related to water and road conditions dominated the discussion as the three Thrompon candidates of Thimphu faced each other during the public debate yesterday. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this time, the debate was conducted with a limited audience seated maintaining physical distancing. It was telecast LIVE on national television.

Water, a topic in the capital city that makes news more often than not, sparked the debate. Sonam Dorji, the youngest candidate of the three, promised a free drinking water supply to the residents if elected. He said access to free drinking water is people’s fundamental right.

“It’s people’s property. There is no law stating that water should be charged. And, Article 1, section 12 of the constitution also states right over natural resources. Who will buy their property? When I say I will provide free drinking water, I am saying so with proper research. And with poor quality of water, it’s shameful to even ask for its charge. I being a businessman, it will be shameful on my part to charge for a poor quality good,” he said.

Ugyen Dorji, having worked as a deputy chief urban planner with the Thimphu Thromde, was quick to react to the pledge.

“I want to clarify to the public that we didn’t charge for water, it was always free. We charged for the maintenance of infrastructure while supplying water like road and water pipes. Since Sonam doesn’t have any touch on that I think he didn’t understand the procedure. So, not collecting fees will make it difficult for Thromde to provide its services in the future,” refuted Ugyen Dorji.

Considering his past experience, the candidate from the Jungshina_Kawangjangsa constituency was asked why the thromde failed in implementing its plans. Ugyen Dorji replied that plans need to be implemented based on priority.

As the discussion shifted towards the roads within the thromde, the former Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee was questioned. Sonam Dorji said the roads are of poor quality.

“We always construct roads in consultation with people. In the past, before the construction of roads, there was no consultation with Bhutan Telecom and Bhutan Power Corporation, so because of that most of the roads were dug soon after its completion. So now, before the construction of many roads, we make sure to discuss our plans with them and now such diggings have reduced,” said Kinlay Dorjee.

The three candidates can continue their campaign till April 26, two days before Poll Day. There are more than 8,000 registered voters in Thimphu Thromde.

Pema Seldon Tshering

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