Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014 - 10:23 AM
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The nearer-to-home New Years

It  was a week of exchanging good wishes and celebrations, as we entered into the Gregorian New Year on Tuesday, and then nyilo today. In the capital city and many urban towns, celebrations were largely centred around nightclubs and drayangs, where music, mostly western, and alcohol, even on a “dry day”, elevated the New Year spirit. By late evening, Thimphu city wore a different look, as young and old thronged the streets, pubs and clubs in their best western outfits.  New Year’s come once a [... Read More]

Exit 2013

Today we welcome 2014. The world celebrated its eve yesterday and certain sections of the Bhutanese population joined the celebrations too. The good thing about New Year’s Eves is the idea of observing an end and a start that is marked with commemoration and anticipation. For some of us, the good thing about the eve is we forget how we celebrated the last one, or we mistake some other New Year’s Eve for the previous one. Unable to really recall how it was celebrated, when, [... Read More]

Media under microscope

South Asia, according to Reporters Without Borders, was not a safe place for journalists in 2013.  A total of 22 journalists were killed in the line of duty, with most of the perpetrators enjoying impunity. There is nothing for us to be alarmed at with the report.  Bhutan may be clubbed in the group, but it is probably one of the safest places for journalists to practise their trade.  Forget harassment or death threats, in fact, it could be among the few places, where journalists [... Read More]

Treat the cause, not the symptom

How stringent is stringent, when it comes to laws to dissuade drug peddlers from bringing in psychotropic substances that find ready users in the country, mostly youth. This was what a civil society organisation that initiated a campaign recently, rallying support from random individuals around the capital city and those residing in towns across the country, wanted. It had prepared a petition demanding a legislation spelling out stiff penalties against drug peddlers. Save for the element of such a drive coming from a civil society [... Read More]

Austerity measure or pay hike

Gauging from the Pay Commission’s initial findings vis-à-vis much awaited pay hike for civil servants and that of Parliament members including minister, prospects of a likely raise look rather bleak. The government was under pressure to look into revising, in that raising civil servant’s pay package because they did not want to renege on their election promise. Therefore, the Pay Commission was formed as the Constitution required for the purpose of revising salaries for public servants and Parliament members. So why was the commission formed, [... Read More]

Golden goose chase

The road safety authority is coming down hard on those who have not changed ownership of second hand vehicles sold or bought.  The announcement alarmed many. If a quarter of the total vehicles in the country have changed hands, but not transferred the ownership, it is a lapse on the part of the authority.  There is a standing rule saying ownerships should be changed within 15 days of the transaction.  While there is no up to date database of vehicles, the reason for the strict [... Read More]

Hollow signs of prosperity

Gone are the days, halcyon ones for building owners in the capital city, who could once lease out their apartments to people desperately looking for a place to live in for rents they charged at their whims. Today, there are more buildings than there are tenants to rent them. This rings quite akin to the other phrase we have grown used to hearing in recent years, of there being more graduates than there are jobs available in the market. In the last five years the [... Read More]

Crossing the land hurdle

Land has always been a thorny issue.  And going by recent trends in the capital city, the scramble for land is becoming a strong trend.  It will not stop here.  We will see it happen in many other towns. We can see it become only worse.  Therefore, it is all the more important to address it now, because of the diminishing spaces and soaring value of land, especially in urban Bhutan. The government, the Thimphu thromde, in particular, has been unable to implement its plans, [... Read More]

Signs of today, caution for tomorrow

The fear of vacant households (gungtong) in the villages, emanating from rural-urban migration, was one the country always had more than a decade ago. Balanced development, in that taking modern amenities that came with country’s progress was seen as a possible solution to this problem then, which in absence of any today, continues to be still. Today, many villages have been connected with farm roads, the lifeline, as villagers in the once remote parts of the country put it then. Other fruits of development barely [... Read More]

Lapses in implementation?

Anywhere in the world, immigration laws and laws regarding citizenship are stringent. Implementation of these laws is tougher and even tougher is penalties for violating them. The recent story of a mother, sentenced to six years in prison, for violating the country’s immigration law, but was released for a couple of months because she was pregnant, has many discussing the issue. Besides the one she just delivered at the national referral hospital, she had two other children to look after. The children’s father was also [... Read More]

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