Thursday, January 29th, 2015 - 4:12 AM
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Victim to weather

The forces of nature have overwhelmed some farmers in western Bhutan.  Within one week, their hope of a good harvest was turned into despair as the clear skies at the beginning of the week gave way to heavy rains last night. Farmers were so close to reap the fruit of a year round hard work, when they laid their harvested paddy to dry and thresh.  Like often in the past, the vagaries of nature threaten to snatch that away.  The damage caused will be known [... Read More]

Sugaring the pill

The revised power tariff for the next three-year cycle that was announced yesterday should come as a relief for the end users. While there is definitely an increase, it is not to the extent as proposed by the power generating and distributing companies to the Bhutan Electricity Authority (BEA) earlier this year. When the revision proposal first came to light earlier this year, it indicated that electricity bills for urban consumers could triple from the existing rates. Among industrialists, some said they would have to [... Read More]

Political parties’ position post-election

Barely a few months since the country’s second parliamentary elections ended and the presence of political parties among the electorate is fading. Even the two political parties that were elected to the Parliament as the ruling and the opposition, rural voters have said their existence was beginning to peter out in their communities. The opposition party, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s offices have begun closing in many parts of the country, unlike when they were in the government where candidates made voluntary contributions to keep some. Even [... Read More]

Working out

That the labour ministry is coming up with an “overseas employment program”, in partnership with the private sector, should have raised the spirits of thousands of youth looking for gainful employment. From the outside, this programme looks like it will fulfill two things at one time: the opportunity to go overseas, which is on list of almost every Bhutanese unemployed or not, and be employed in some kind of work that pays well. And, going by labour officials, the only criteria required to qualify for [... Read More]

Wasps on the warpath

Human-wildlife conflict is not new to Bhutan.  Almost everyday, we hear of wild boars rampaging rice fields or predators maiming or killing livestock. This time around, it is wasps that were in conflict with humans.  It pains to learn that three people, including a nine-month old baby, died in the past week from wasp stings.  The Zhemgang dzongkhag officials are trying find out why or what caused the wasp swarm to attack three people in a week. It will be difficult to come to a [... Read More]

Give people choice

The focus begins moving to Pemagatshel again for by-election that is scheduled for November 9. The attraction is that the election will be held to replace the former prime minister, the dzongkhag’s champion, who chose to step down despite his stonking win during the general election. The candidate to replace him being a woman makes the process all the more captivating. Should she be elected, the candidate will make it among the already talked about poor women representation at the Parliament this time. Moving over [... Read More]

Finding gainful employment

The honeymoon period for most of the 2,400 university graduates is over, with the national graduates orientation programme coming to an end yesterday.  Out of universities and colleges, and ready for the world of work, the NGOP, comes as a respite before they join the work force or, for some, the long queue for jobs. Beginning today, some will retire to the corners of their rooms to gear up for the civil service entry exams, while some will start the long march to landing a [... Read More]

Pilgrim’s progress

Unaware as they might have been, but much before the pilgrimage, the preparation for it has been one heck of a Buddhist teaching for most pilgrims bound for Singye Dzong. Well the teaching began with spouses having to part with one another, parents reluctantly having to leave their children home, grandparents looking after their grandchildren having to painfully tear themselves away from them. These are all a manifestation of the teachings of the Buddha himself, who in pursuit of truth, had himself experienced this very [... Read More]

Getting off to a slow start

In recent days, word is that the government is broke.  Too broke to even pay salaries and travel claims of civil servants on official tours. Fixed line telephones of some government agencies did play the familiar tune and voice when disconnected.  This, for some, was proof that coffers were empty. All this talk and speculation is linked to donor funds flowing into the country for the 11th Plan, particularly from India, Bhutan’s largest and most important development partner. There were those, who pointed out that [... Read More]

Prize, not price of “repeat” pledge

It is a cold elbow nudge educationists are rendering the government’s consideration to allow class X and XII students another shot at the board examinations, should they fall through in their first attempt. Some comments on online forums show disapproval for such a move that rests on the Cabinet table for passage through an executive order. Studies to date, it remains uncertain if there are any conducted so far and at what scale, might show repeating as a narrow strategy to improve results. But they, [... Read More]