1. I recall reading that PM Modi of India had offered 5 billion rupees ( just like UPA government gave PDP government ) during the telephone call to congratulate Bhutan's elect PM Dr. Lotay Tshering.
2. Then there was a re-commitment from India about the 10,000 megawatt projects in Bhutan around the time of PM Lotay's visit to India. During PDP tenure, India had backtracked on the commitment and even imposed new terms which PDP formed government did not accept.
3. Since the visit to India by the Bhutanese PM, there has been no reference to that 5 billion rupees. India did agree to fund 45 billion rupees 12th Plan budget. That commitment was there even before the general election. And an additional Rs. 1 billion to improve custom infrastructures on both sides of Indo- Bhutan international borders to speed up trade after GST adoption in India.
4. Recently the Bhutanese PM has indicated the intention to slow down on further new hydro projects. The public reasons given are that haste causes difficulties as in Punatsangchu two projects. The actual decision could be based on more concrete factors.
My personal take of events:
I am not fully sure as yet but all indication points to preserving sovereign dignity. I pray that I am right. Thus this new government needs our support and goodwill in the path chosen. We Bhutanese must bear with our government if it is unable or delays fulfilling campaign pledges. It is necessary to forgo freebies of the present for national larger interest of the future.
Before our PM visit to India, some people were saying that he might get 60 or more billions in grant instead of the 45 billion for 12th Plan from New Delhi. My response was " I hope not though it could be 50 billion if the 5 billion freebie grant ( unattached to identified activities ) offer was accepted ".
The 5 billion freebee grant offer could have funded most of DNT Party pledges. But thankfully, it seems PM Lotay did not pursue it. And further, it seems he did not make new hydro projects a priority during his visit to India.
I believe that pursueing new hydro projects under the terms insisted upon by India is not the best option for Bhutan. Our rivers are our biggest natural resources. But with our hands tied and hydro- project costs going insanely wild and project completion date overshooting double the years from 5 to over dozen years, the vision of white gold has become a nightnare. The 10% interest on hydro loan is piling up to original capital project costs. The envisioned cash cow has become a corpse of national burden.
So yes, Your Excellency, hurry not with new hydro projects. Let us catch our breath and attempt to put a brake on the down hill slide. The land slides at Puna I dam site is just a prelude to the sinking ship of the nation if interest rate continues at exorbitant 10% and reckless decisions and delays by project managements continue at the 2 mega projects of Punatsangchu. The government of India need to hold to accounts the former CEO of Puna I & II and all the key Indian appointees who were on tours 365 days a year as observed by Royal Bhutan Audit Authority.
I believe Bhutan can still achieve the white gold vision that our Kings have set. Just a different time and new strategy is required to get to the favourable path. For one take up the Bhutan- Bangladesh proposed hydro project if India approves transit passage through her domain for export of electricity from Bhutan to Bangladesh. A transit fee can be paid. It would be a true case of joint equal partnership successful venture.
I thank Your Excellency for not taking a easier path of pursuing the 5 billion rupee candy that could have funded DNT Party campaign freebee pledges. And I pray that fellow Bhutanese sympathise with our government in making do the maximum with what we as a nation can afford.