For the voters of one of the biggest constituencies, Phuentsholing, recent development activities have left them dissatisfied.
Phuentsholing constituency, which is comprised of a Thromde and six gewogs, has 10,737 registered voters. Maintenance and up-gradation of farm roads and hospitals, irrigation channels and revival of agriculture in the constituency are top expectations of the voters in the rural areas. Since most of the voters are rural based, the voters promise to elect the candidates, who assure to meet these expectations.
While most of the villages now have much needed basic facilities, still more focus on roads are deemed necessary as these villagers suffer during monsoon when farm roads remain blocked entirely due to landslides. They say that blacktopping and maintaining proper drainages are necessary to keep them open throughout the year. “We cannot demand much but these are our genuine expectations from the next government,” said Bur Dhoj Rai from Sirina.
Sirina, which is more than four hours’ drive from Phuentsholing needs a Basic Health Unit with a doctor and ambulance. Today, the villages avail medical services from an Out Reach Clinic. Having a BHU will save time to travel to Phuentsholing General Hospital during summer when multiple roadblocks hinder travel. Likewise, voters from other parts of Phuentsholing constituency also feel that a BHU is necessary in each gewog.
Provision of enough drinking and irrigation water is also another expectation of almost all the villages of Phuentsholing constituency. Although the voters agree that water supply has been provided by the earlier governments, most of them are either damaged or the sources, dry. Still, the shortage of drinking water facilities persists there. Logchina is one of the villages where drinking water shortage is severe. “The new government needs to look for a permanent solution to all these problems since it is a basic necessity for the people,” said Harka Bdr. Mongar from Logchina. He said that two candidates have promised to tackle the issues if they are elected. “Let’s see what happens,” he said.
Additionally, the villagers who mostly depend on agriculture expects the new government to implement measures to revive dying agriculture practices in the constituency. Cardamom, ginger and mandarin are top cash crops in the constituency. But now, mandarin has died leaving farmers in a critical economic state. It is more than a decade since the cash crop which supported the farmers have vanished. “We expect our new government to come with effective methods to revive our agriculture which is the backbone of the nation,” said Bur Dhoj Rai. Cardamom has so far lifted the farmers economically but that also has started decreasing in yield and prices.
People are also expecting one Early Child Care and Development Center in each village. Since most of the villagers will be engaged in daily farm works, providing ECCDs to each village would also help the farmers to keep their children meaningfully engaged, said Dik Bdr. Ghalley from Burkey.
Meanwhile, the villagers nearby Pasakha Industrial Park hopes the government will come up with pollution control measures to safeguard the villages and its farms. These villages have been a victim of industrial pollution from Pasakha IP without much benefit. “We want the new government to frame regulations benefiting the villagers and our farm products,” said Nanda Kumar Chhetri from Kothiline in Samphelling gewog.
Development of extended Phuentsholing Thromde in Pekarshing, 10 kilometers from Phuentsholing been stalled without any development works, according to the residents. Also the area misses many facilities eligible for thromdes. The area still lacks street light facilities and proper road and water supply connections. The residents expect the next government to accelerate approval processes for construction once the Local Area Plan is complete along with easy loan procedures. “If such facilities are in place, there will be rapid development taking place,” said Bimal Kumar from Pekarzhing.
Among others, creating better market for farmers’ farm products, crop insurance schemes and subsidies to encourage farmers in taking up farming as sustainable job are also some of the expectations of the people of Phuentsholing constituency.
The voters along Phuentsholing-Kothiline, Samphelling expect better boundary walls with police outpost along the border. “It helps in maintaining proper security for the people and the country,” a voter said.
Tashi from Druk Phuensum Tshogpa and Jai Bir Rai from Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa are contesting from Phuentsholing constituency this election.
Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing