Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 - 3:34 AM
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Has Bhutan gone greener?

DSC_1454All set: 100 volunteers will attempt to beat the current world record of planting 50,000 trees today at the Kuenselphodrang to commemorate His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s birth anniversary celebrations.

Latest assessment shows marked increase in forest coverage, though the jury is still out

Forest: As Bhutan attempts to set a record today and observe the social forestry day, forest coverage in the country in the last two decades has increased to about 80 percent from about 72 percent in the 1990s.

The figure, according to department of forest officials, is based on the Bhutan land cover assessment (LCMP) 2010.  Of the 80 percent, about 10 percent is made up of shrubs, while the rest is tree coverage.

The assessment shows the forest coverage at 31,057.26sqkm against the country’s new area of 38,394sqkm.  This is an increase of about 2,012sqkm from 1995, when the last assessment called land use planning project (LUPP) was conducted, which showed 29,045sqkm of land under forest coverage.


Judicial interpretation of independence sought

As per the National Council’s good governance committee’s report on the commission

ACC: The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) was inclined to seek the judiciary’s interpretation on the constitutional provision regarding its independence, the good governance committee of the National Council (NC) reported yesterday.


Opposition asks government to get overhauling education right

Education: Opposition MP from Panbang, Dorji Wangdi, moved a motion at the National Assembly yesterday concerning education in the country.

He said that the question of what is the real purpose and aim of education has been one of most widely discussed and debated issues in the country today.


Overall drop in crime

But certain crimes have increased

Crime:  Despite the drop in the overall crime rate in the country, police records show an increase in crime against property like larceny and burglary, offences against the Ku-Sung-Thukten or statues, scriptures, and lhakhangs, among others.

Going by the dzongkhags, Thimphu has the highest crime rate of 32 percent. In 2013, the crime rate in the capital was 1,314.

Chief of Police Kipchu Namgyel said that in 2010, 65 percent of all crimes occurred in Thimphu.


Greening Bhutan

By  the time we read this, Bhutan could have entered the Guinness Book of World Records for planting 50,000 tree saplings in an hour by 100 people.  This is a massive feat that merits recognition.

Even if we have failed to enter the world record, which is most unlikely, we would have already set a record for ourselves.  Apart from the 50,000 saplings, schools, institutions and even offices are planting trees by the hundreds.  Our children will be richer by thousands of trees more.


Ferro silicon industries staring down the barrel

Third and final power tariff revision might sound death knell for industrial sector

Electricity: With the third and the final power tariff revision that will come to effect from July this year, ferrosilicon industries in Pasakha are now facing a question of sustainability.

Tariff revision could hit the industries already aggravated by poor market situation hard.


No replacement for Drukair CEO found yet

Aviation: It may be a while before the national airline has a new CEO.

Drukair’s former CEO, Tandin Jamso, who submitted his resignation to the Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) board in March, left office at the end of last week.

The former CEO, who had more than two years remaining on his contract, resigned for personal reasons, according to DHI.


Picture story

The Damphu hospital has become overcrowded with patients sharing beds, sleeping on floors and on emergency trolleys in the corridor. As of May 30, there were 29 patients in the 20-bed hospital. Staff at the hospital are worried that the overcrowding will lead to easy transmission of diseases.


Heavy rains cutoff Gasa

11011074The roadblock caused by a swollen stream following heavy rainfall

Roadblocks at various points follow heavy and continuous rainfall since May 31

Disaster: Gasa is once again cutoff from the rest of the country since May 31 evening, when heavy rains blocked the only road connecting the dzongkhag at various points between Puntshopang and Damji.

Gasa dzongdag, Dorji Dhadhrul, said the dzongdag, dzongrab and some officials were returning from Punakha on the evening of May 31 after seeing off the agriculture minister, when the road above Damji got blocked.  Commuters on either side of the road remained stranded for more than two hours.


Airport preparedness for quakes

Much work remains to be done if the country is to be ready for that kind of a disaster

Aviation: The need to expand Paro international airport has become a more urgent issue following the April 25 earthquake in Nepal.

Tribhuvan international airport in Kathmandu proved a major bottleneck for relief efforts as a result of congestion issues after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake.

Like Paro airport, it has only one runway and a small number of parking bays for aircraft.