KuenselOnline

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 - 9:19 PM
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Sarpang’s kidnap concerns

While the fate of four men, including two students, abducted on August 7 evening, is not known, it’s clear what the intention of the abductors from across the border in Sarpang was. The miscreants, about 30 of them, who strolled across the porous border, want to make quick money and are aware that kidnapping Bhutanese is a good way, as they make easy prey. In just one and a half years, victims of kidnapping in Sarpang and Gelephu have paid Nu 1.7M in ransom to [... Read More]

A case of a bad carpenter?

Local leaders in Mongar are proposing to do away with community forests in the dzongkhag.  This is a blow to policymakers, especially those engaged in forest management in the country. The community forest idea is a touted as a good initiative in forest management and land use as it involves, empowers and gives communities ownership in managing the forest resources for income generation, while also preserving the ecology and catchment areas.  So, when local leaders feel that the initiative is causing discord rather than harmony, [... Read More]

Compact and efficient

It’s official.  The size of the civil service will not get bigger. The organisational development (OD) exercise has been initiated, and all decentralised recruitment frozen. The latest development is the announcement of vacancies in the civil service, which has been reduced by 68 slots compared with last year.  Only 436 of the 3,254 graduates, who have registered for the preliminary examinations, will be taken in. These are bold actions and geared towards a compact and efficient civil service.  It is not a myth that the [... Read More]

Finding a solution

The recent blasting at Gedaphu mining area has exposed a lot of controversy, besides marble and stone, to be mined. Every blasting is followed by residents complaining to the department of geology and mines of the damages it is causing to their houses.  In recent times, it has become more severe, with residents even appealing to courts, apparently not happy with the investigations of the DGM. Mining in Gedaphu or Jemina has been dogged by controversy for many years now.  We had villagers appealing to [... Read More]

Forward to the past?

More than two years after the blanket restriction on loans, the government is, step by step, lifting the restrictions, which many claim has brought many businesses to a halt. First to go was the restriction on the import of furniture and alcohol.  By the end of next week, restrictions on housing and vehicle loans will be lifted too, undoing all the restrictions put in place by the former government. A blanket ban on loans is bad for the economy.  Much of our growth is boosted [... Read More]

Possibly public enemy no. 1

Junk food, it has been established, is not good for health.  What’s also established, and gaining increasing criticism, is the impact junk food, packaged ones especially, has on the environment. This is in relation with the large amount of packaged and processed food offered at the altar in temples and monasteries as tshok. Most schools in the capital disallow students from bringing packaged food, like chips, biscuits and juices.  It’s called junk because it isn’t the sustenance required for proper nutrition and growth.  Parents are [... Read More]

Brewing a new way

Pemagatshel dzongkhag tshogdu has made a most sensible decision.  In what may be an unpopular move among the villagers, the tshogdu banned serving alcohol during gatherings and selling home brewed alcohol. The decision should be appreciated, considering that alcohol is a problem in the dzongkhag.  In fact, alcohol is a problem in the country, but our policies are mostly business friendly. In those parts of the country, alcohol is a part of daily life.  Some villagers begin their day with alcohol and end with it [... Read More]

A slip in standards

The poor performance in English is a reason enough to worry students, parents, teachers and policy makers alike.  The average score of 49.29 in a subject that was once considered easy is poor by any standard. Hopefully, it could be a one-time blip and that students will perform better from this year. Bhutanese students are actually expected to score better in the subject.  We start learning English from kindergarten, and English is the medium of education in the formal education system, except for the monastic [... Read More]

The housing allowance riddle

Most civil servants received their first revised salary with the 20 percent housing allowance. But many are feeling cheated, as the 20 percent housing allowance, the selling point, which the government used to justify a decent salary raise for civil servants, in reality, is turning out to be something else. The housing allowance is not for all civil servants, but selected groups, like the ones living in rented apartments.  Those occupying National Housing and Development Corporation’s (NHDC) houses in colonies in various parts of the [... Read More]

An airport trap

For the thousands of Bhutanese travelling to Thailand, the duty free shop at the Bangkok international airport is a favourite place to do last minute shopping, whether to pick up a gift or spend their remaining baht. But the duty free shop, it seems, is turning out to be a dangerous place to pick up a gift for your loved ones, or to window shop.  There are stories of how departing passengers are detained for allegedly shoplifting and let off after paying huge sums of [... Read More]

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