KuenselOnline

Sunday, March 29th, 2015 - 6:26 PM
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The elephant in the room

The government has lived up to its promise, even if partly, when it comes to providing a power tiller for each of the 1,040 chiwogs in the country.  The tillers arrived, literally with a bang, as 25 of them roared away from Mongar town last week. About 70 have been distributed so far, covering the six eastern dzongkhags.  More are on the way.  The power tiller, called the agent of change in rural Bhutan, will do wonders as it ploughs fields, pumps water, threshes rice [... Read More]

Subjective justice?

With the Anti Corruption Commission issuing suspension orders to the two civil servants for alleged involvement in the lhakhang Karpo case, there are many questions being asked.  This is because, a few days earlier, the government granted the foreign minister ‘authorised absence.’ The first question on many minds is why are there two rules for the same alleged crime?  The foreign minister has also been charged in the same case.  The project engineer and the manager, as civil servants, are governed by the civil service [... Read More]

A worrisome reverse

Winter is at its peak in the country.  In the capital, many feel that this winter is colder than the last.  This probably is because we forgot how cold last winter was.  When the temperature drops, we discuss a familiar subject: fuel wood. Surprisingly, there is not much good to say.  Over the last three years, fuel wood consumption has increased almost 10 times.  This is worrying.  An increase of 3,635 truckloads of firewood in three years is a huge quantity.  Unless the wood is [... Read More]

Treading the last mile

We have come a long way since the Millennium Summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York a decade and a half ago. The world leaders signed a declaration at the summit to create a more prosperous, peaceful and equal world. Global peace and prosperity has come to mean so much else since. Bhutan, a sincere member of the world body, took a solemn pledge that day. As a developing nation that opened up to rest the world only very recently, all the eight [... Read More]

At stake in the lhakhang Karpo case

Two years after the Gyalpoizhing case in Mongar, all eyes will now shift to west Bhutan, in Haa, where the Office of the Attorney General will prosecute foreign minister Rinzin Dorje in connection with alleged corruption in the lhakhang Karpo case. The foreign minister, who was the dzongda when the Anti Corruption Commission unearthed corruption practices in renovating the most important lhakhang in the dzongkhag, is on “authorised absence” since yesterday.  He will join office after the case is resolved, and if found not guilty. [... Read More]

Traffic safety, first and last

Ap Sha is a strict taxi driver now.  He will not let mothers with infants sit in the front seat of his taxi.  He is adamant that his passengers are buckled up.  At zebra crossings, he slows down and lets pedestrians cross. After attending the daylong session on road safety, the Thimphu-based cabbie is aware of road safety rules.  It was not his first time attending such training.  He didn’t follow because nobody followed.  The penalties, in monetary terms, which officials told him they would [... Read More]

The future of our farms

The regional climate change conference that concluded yesterday was a stark reminder of our priorities. In the midst of all the talk and discussions of relaxing foreign direct investment, slackening GDP growth and increasing unemployment, even for the trained and the educated, we are reminded of an important sector, the agriculture sector, which still is the mainstay of our economy. It is a good time to pause and look at our priorities.  If there are stern warnings from climate change experts, our agriculture experts have [... Read More]

Big Brother lurking?

Traffic problem is growing in the major cities of this country, particularly in the crowded place like Thimphu. That’s why there is now the talk of setting up Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) – advanced applications that will allow users to be better informed to make safe and more coordinated and smarter use of transport networks. This is an idea that has come of age. At the same time, this very idea could lead us to problems bigger than we are facing today. What can be [... Read More]

A new dilemma

If there is one revered profession in Bhutan, it is teaching.  That’s why many parents advise their children, especially girls, to become teachers – a noble profession. That was when jobs were aplenty and teaching was the last option for graduates.  In recent times, if there is one thing making headlines, it is the shortage of teachers.  The scenario has changed, suddenly, and now we have hundreds of teacher graduates, who will not be absorbed in government schools because the system is saturated.  Some are [... Read More]

Missing the big picture

Apart from the famous mathra and yathra, Bumthang is known for frequent power blackouts.  Just recently, the dzongkhag was left without power for almost 20 hours. The spiritual heartland of the country, and one of the most visited places by tourists, Bumthang is a popular dzongkhag with its vast flatlands providing immense potential for development.  The Achilles heel is the irregular supply of electricity, especially in winter, when the dzongkhag endures temperatures below freezing point for a few months. A lot has improved since the [... Read More]

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