KuenselOnline

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 - 7:59 PM
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The closed circuit

It goes without saying that Bhutan has been undergoing a period of unprecedented change for quite some time now. While the GNH paradigm provides a broad and long term guiding vision of future direction at an individual and national level, change is occurring at all levels. Take, for example, the head of the family social structure.  In an increasingly money-based economy, where currency does all the talking, a younger member of a family, who brings in the cash and the goodies, is probably more looked [... Read More]

A technical problem

For some time now, it has become a norm of sorts for different contractors, vying for different government projects, to file the same engineer’s name and curriculum vitae (CV), claiming them as employees. Evaluators sitting on tender committees probably turn a blind eye to such shortcomings, and pass the documents anyway. Recently, the Construction Development Board issued a notification, following complaints from the Anti-Corruption Commission, disallowing engineers and architects, including surveyors, working with various organisations, from giving away their CVs to Bhutanese contractors. It is [... Read More]

Coming to a (primary) climax

The four political parties have exactly a week of official campaigning period left before the primary round, the first one ever held. On that day, only two parties, the ones with the highest votes, will move ahead to contest the general round in the second week of July. This is excluding the 48-hour blackout period before poll day, May 31, where political parties are not supposed to campaign, and the media is not supposed to write stories that might influence voters. Some voters in Thimphu, [... Read More]

Beware! The wild mushrooms

Some time towards the end of April, a 10-year-old girl in Samdrupjongkhar died after eating a dish of wild mushrooms. The rest of the family members survived. Alas, the same could not be said for a family of four in Samtse, where a dish of wild mushrooms claimed the lives of an entire family. The last the country recorded of a similar incident where consumption of wild mushroom wiped out an entire family was back in 1995. What makes these tales tragic is that the [... Read More]

To put the money where the mouth is

At the rate political parties are making promises, the impression one gets is that there are plenty of funds to do so. Some of the promises are blacking topping thousands of kilometres of dirt roads to make them all weather, a power tiller in every chiwog, banking, fuel depots and workshop in each of the 205 gewogs, a new ministry for gender and social development. Purchase of two helicopters for emergency services, hiking travel and daily allowance for civil servants, travel fare discounts for senior [... Read More]

Taking a turn for the worse?

Signs are already beginning to show of one of the things we most loathe about electioneering, the possibilities of political mudslinging in the days to come until the general election. Political party presidents and candidates have been accusing one another of giving rural voters money, along with their pamphlets, to attend campaign meetings or for attending them. Some party candidates have been accused of distributing gadgets like mobile phones, while a few others have been providing meals, including alcoholic drinks, to people attending their meetings. [... Read More]

The welcoming party

Home ministry’s recent guideline that stipulates how political party presidents on the campaign tours of the country should be greeted has caused some stir. The discussion has emanated, especially in the light of the competition parties are undergoing in efforts to shore up support for the primary round of election, which is just over a week away. While there was no qualms about “extending courtesy” to political party presidents, when they visited various parts of the country, the guidelines seemed like they would prejudice one [... Read More]

All’s well?

So  the two teachers, who had put up their resignations to join political parties, got what they wanted. The royal civil service commission, after sitting on it for at least a day, and meeting twice, decided that the two teachers would be made to resign compulsorily for joining politics before their resignations were accepted. That is what the two teachers wanted in any case – to resign. There was some concern that they might not get their retirement benefits, but the commission has made it [... Read More]

Small steps, greater good

How apt it was, this little initiative coming from a handful of educators to improve the experience and ambiance of classroom learning for little children at a school in Thimphu. Political party presidents and candidates are claiming to be from humble family backgrounds, and how they were best placed to reach out their hands, should they be elected to govern the country, into the darkness and pull the hands of those like them into the light. Mere gimmicks to sell their pledges to buy votes, [... Read More]

Bent, if not broken

The four political parties have all kicked off their campaigns for the primary polls that is 17 days away, yet the ambiguities and technicalities surrounding the letter of intent refuses to go away. Not that anything would change at this stage, after all the authority to do the scrutiny has cleared four parties to go ahead. Yet the issue sticks, because one party was disqualified since it could not show all 47 candidates.  And now, it has been learnt that there are two candidates (civil [... Read More]