Thursday, July 2nd, 2015 - 5:10 AM
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More or less about service delivery

Contradicting the government’s proposal to reduce the number of gewogs by about 57, the National Council yesterday proposed to bifurcate nine gewogs.  This means the number of gewogs will increase from 205 to 214. By bifurcating the larger gewogs, the council feels that effective and efficient delivery of public services could be ensured.

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 [... Read More]

Zero Tolerance Day impact

Judging by the disappointment among partygoers and late night owls, the Royal Bhutan Police’s initiative of “Zero Tolerance Day” is working out fine. More than a month since the initiative kicked off, there are numerous stories of driving licenses and vehicle registration documents seized by police, as motorists are caught red-handed driving under the influence of alcohol or, in some cases, carrying extra passenger or load.

When opinions differ…

When the National Assembly passed the Entitlement and Service Conditions for Commissioners of Constitutional Offices (amendment) Bill, repealing the provision that requires commissioners and members of constitutional offices to resign, the expectation was that there would be a deadlock. As expected, the National Council has objected to the amendment.  The house of review, rather endorsed that members and commissioners be reappointed for a second term.

Let not debate descend to indecorum

A member of the opposition reminded the government of the pledges it made and a debate sparked off, almost turning ugly, needing the Deputy Speaker to remind the house of its decorum. On the agenda for discussion yesterday at the Assembly were issues from local governments, but members of the ruling and opposition parties engaged in a heated debate almost along party lines.

The longstanding LPG rip-off

Have the liquid petroleum gas (LPG) distributors been cheating their clients for years?  A special audit on import and distribution of LPG in the country indicates so. For 15 years, from 1999 to 2014, consumers were over-charged, through collection of loading and unloading charges, home delivery and depreciation cost, which the distributors included in the final price of the LPG cylinder.  The three distributors have collected Nu 29.11 million in this period.

Meeting the meat eater’s whim

A lot of air was cleared yesterday, when members of the government, including the Prime Minister, said that the government had never planned to set up slaughterhouses in the country. The government is even willing to stop the meat-processing unit, which is nearing completion, if people are against the idea.  This will come as a relief to the people, who expressed strong resentment against the idea.

Being prepared

It was all about “what ifs” at a meeting of heads of agencies and organisations to discuss our disaster preparedness. The picture presented was gloomy as members discussed worst-case scenarios.  What if our buildings in the city collapsed, mobile network got clogged or road network were disrupted severely when an earthquake of a huge magnitude hit us?  As they brainstormed for ideas, there are not many things in place.  But it was a good beginning and an important meeting.

The proof of the pudding

On Friday, the Bank of Bhutan added yet another facility, as it keeps up with technology and the varying needs of its clients. The two latest services, mobile banking and agency banking, like its many other services, will make banking friendlier and easier.  Without having to bunk office for a visit to the nearest branch, clients could pay bills from their mobile phones, check account balance, and apply for credit card.  This will also save time, as they need not wait in long queues to [... Read More]

A meaty issue

Bhutanese have never debated so well on anything than on the ongoing issue of the government’s plan to start a meat-processing unit, and therefore slaughterhouses. Most are against it, with religious sentiment gaining momentum being the reason.  The dratshang’s plea to the government has added firepower.  Buddhist country, GNH country, and some even linking the recent earthquakes to the slaughter of animals, seem to be convincing many.

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