KuenselOnline

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 - 7:40 AM
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His Majesty meets highlanders of Merak

20150525-IMG_5161A schoolgirl wins a Soelra-lottery prize during the public tokha granted by His Majesty to the people of Merak

Visit: The mood in Merak is of jubilation, as the village that sits huddled between breathtaking pasturelands at an altitude over 3500 meters high, hosts their King and Queen.

His Majesty The King, accompanied by Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen, arrived in Merak on the evening of May 24, having travelled for more than 10 hours from Dewathang, meeting people from the region who had lined up along the highway to greet Their Majesties.

The people of Merak, striking in their red jackets of sheep wool and distinct black hats, welcomed Their Majesties in their unique tradition, and with uninhibited joy.

The entire village escorted their Majesties to the guest house, which is surrounded by the stone and mud houses of the villagers.

The villagers were then treated to a movie screened on a makeshift projector in the grounds of Merak Primary School. His Majesty visited the ground, and promised to spend more time meeting the people in the next two days.

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Indo-Bhutan trade transcends diplomatic ties

Relation is most liberal and oldest free trade agreement, say officials from both sides

Commerce: With the ferro silicon industries facing stiff competition from those in China and Vietnam, the government has requested the Indian government to provide preference to Bhutanese ferro silicon.

This was one of the discussion points tabled during the Indo-Bhutan trade and transit meeting yesterday in Thimphu.

Economic affairs’ officiating secretary, Sonam P Wangdi ,who led the Bhutanese delegation, said the Indian counterparts agreed to study the matter, including the taxation procedures.

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Council weighs in on election issues

DSC08455The National Council has directed the legislative committee to submit a final report on election issues

Legislative committee to submit a final report for adoption

NC: The National Council yesterday resolved that the election Act does not need an amendment to include the provision of it being a continuous house, since it was already stated in the National Council (amendment) bill, which the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) assured would be respected.

The National Council discussed election related issues and several provisions in the election rules, guidelines, and handbooks that were identified for improvement.

Council’s legislative committee presented its findings and recommendations on election related issues and provisions for the election rules, regulations, guidelines, and handbooks.

Legislative committee’s chairman, Kuenlay Tshering, said, as directed by the house during the last session, the committee consulted the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) on election related issues.

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Deliberations on jabmi bill to continue

Assembly: The National Assembly yesterday resolved that the president of the jabmi tshogdey (bar council) would be elected from its members.

The post of the president was one of the contentious issues in the Jabmi Bill 2014, with some members arguing that the post should be left open for jabmis (lawyers) from outside the council.

“If the president is elected from outside the bar council, the purpose of having the bar council is lost,” Khar-Yurung MP Zanglay Dukpa said.

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Dough fat racket unearthed

IMG_5243The repacked dough fat are sold without labels

The unlabelled product was found to mislead and give false information

OCP: One month after launching the consumer protection rules and regulations by the economic affairs ministry, the office of consumer protection (OCP) received a complaint about misleading the people and giving false representation of a product.

The complaint was concerning an imported dough fat, known as Kagye Maa, without label.  The dough fat imported from India was sold as from Singapore.

Dough fat is produced from palm oil.  It is usually used in confectionery and bakery production in Bhutan.  It is further processed to make ritual cakes.

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Prioritising sports

Basketball enthusiasts in the capital were greeted with a surprise notice yesterday when they, as usual, came to play at the swimming pool complex.  They were asked to enter the indoor basketball court at their own risk.

The Bhutan Basketball Federation has now confirmed that the complex, built in the early 1970s, is not safe, especially after the recent earthquakes.  Much to the credit of the federation, this is a timely warning.  If the structure is not safe and has to be demolished completely, it is not advisable to use it.  Basketball enthusiasts will understand it.  Safety should come first and it is a wise decision the federation took.

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Mangdechu project designed to withstand major quake

IMG_5091MoEA minister Norbu Wangchuk visited the project recently

Hydropower: Clearing rising apprehensions surrounding the safety of Mangdechu hydropower project (MHP) from earthquakes, the authority claims that the project is safe and will be stable in the event of an earthquake, because of inclusion of earthquake parameters in the structures.

“Bhutan should not worry because the earthquake parameters loading on the project structures are taken on the higher side,” the project’s managing director, AK Mishra said.

An inclusion of earthquake parameters means that the project could withstand a major earthquake of magnitude eight at a 15km depth, according the project’s DPR conducted by National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), India.

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Picture story

Health minister Tandin Wangchuk, who attended the 68th World Health Assembly in Geneva on May 20, highlighted Bhutan’s vulnerability to natural and climate-induced disasters and urged for health systems’ strengthening and global health solidarity. On sidelines of the Assembly, lyonpo had bilateral meetings with Heads of Delegation of Thailand, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Norway and Australia. Areas of mutual interests in health development and the upcoming Bhutan Health Trust Fund event were discussed. Lyonpo also met with representative of Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and international Atomic Energy Agency. Lyonpo also addressed a special session on Water and Sanitation in Healthcare Facilities organised by the World Health Organisation and WaterAid.

    

Local leaders don’t want dungkhag to be relocated

The absence of a bridge over Taklai River is one of the main reasons

Gelephu: Although it’s decided, a majority of local leaders from gewogs in Gelephu dungkhag are not satisfied with the decision to relocate the dungkhag administration to Umling. The fifth dzongkhag tshogdu had decided on the relocation last year.

Umling is about 32 km from Gelephu. Umling, Serzhong, Taraythang, Jigmecholing, Chuzagang, Samtenling and Gelephu are gewogs under Gelephu dungkhag.

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Slow going on Nganglam-Gyalpoizhing highway

IMG_8703At snail’s pace: Slow progress on the 400 meters stretch along the Nganglam - Gyalpoizhing highway could extend the deadline

A stretch full of rocks is holding up progress from one side

Roads: Although the completion deadline for the Nganglam-Gyalpoizhing highway has been revised to mid-2015, the project officials based in Nganglam said progress on a particular stretch from the Nganglam side has been very slow.

Officials said that this was because of rocks at the stretch that contains dolomite.

After the Department of Roads took over the work on the stretch last year, it has been able to do only about 150m of formation cutting.

Thinley Tenzin, project manager, said the formation cutting was completed within the span of six months after taking over from the contractor November last year, but 150m is too less in terms of performance.

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