With the facilitation of polling booths for the employees of industries in Phuentsholing and Pasakha, these industrial workers can exercise their right to vote in the upcoming National Assembly elections this year.
The effort was to keep the operation of the industries’ offices and plants uninterrupted during elections. With the facilitation, the employees after registration can vote at the provided polling booths without having to travel to their respective constituencies taking leave from the companies. Association of Bhutanese Industries (ABI) is happy with the move initiated by the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) from which officials recently visited the industries in Pasakha and created awareness among the companies about the facilities.
Close to 3,000 eligible voters, work as employees at Pasakha Industrial estate alone. The Vice President of ABI, Chimi Dorji Norbu said that facilitation of such booths will keep the industries running without disturbances. Otherwise, the plants need to close for a few days if all the employees leave to exercise their right. “It’s their right and we can’t deny them. But on the flip side, we risk losing business. We are happy with the initiative,” said Chimi Dorji Norbu. He also said that it would cost the industries and the government if all the employees leave during the elections.
The industries in Pasakha have mostly Bhutanese employees. And it would take almost a week to travel to and from the plants which is uneconomical. Most of the employees had skipped voting during the first two elections.
Starting this year, ECB has provided postal ballot and polling booth facilities for the employees of Pasakha Industrial Estate and the industries in Phuentsholing along with the members of Truckers and Taxi Association of Bhutan in Phuentsholing. They could exercise their right first in the National Council elections this year. For the convenience of the voters, ECB has provided four polling booths in the Dzongkhag, College of Science and Technology, Phuentsholing Middle Secondary School, Gaeddu College of Business Studies and Chhukha Central School. The voters can visit any of the booths. The Dzongkhag election officials are still in the process of registering the voters. “We started from the NC elections and we will provide them the opportunity this time too for the convenience of the voters,” an official said.
A private employee of Pasakha has been waiting for such facilities. Being a private employee he said he could least afford to exercise his right after five years. “It’s very economical. We can save if we are provided with a booth nearby us. It is a wise step,” said Sangay Dorji.
Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing