Friday, December 19th, 2014 - 2:39 PM
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Making too much of a good thing?

A word that kept coming back at the morning session of the E3 conference was the need for dialogues.  The discussions revolved around investments in hydropower. Are we overinvesting in hydropower?  Are we drowning in hydropower?  Can we absorb such huge investments in a short span of time?  Are we neglecting other sectors?  These are questions emerging.  Given the investment made in hydropower, a prospect, which we are riding on to a prosperous future, discussion and discourse are indeed the need of the hour. There [... Read More]

Rational response is the key

It is indeed a very good piece of news that the Ministry of Health has formed a task force for the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) that is sweeping fast across the globe. The task force will develop a strategic plan to respond to the epidemic that the World Health Organisation has declared a public health emergency. The ministry, therefore, deserves all our gratitude, praise and prayers. But even as we are setting out to develop our own strategic plan to combat the raging disease, [... Read More]

Thrashing out the trash issue

Thimphu hosted the most relevant conference in the recent times.  The two-day sustainable solid waste management conference, where stakeholders participated and thrashed out ideas with authorities and implementers for a better waste management, was a good idea with the problem of solid waste mounting. It has been long overdue. It was a fruitful conference in the sense that participants were vocal and candid about a problem that seems to be getting out of hand.  Planners, implementers and non-government organisations who attended the conference were well [... Read More]

A wake up call

The small Bhutanese community in Perth is a bit shaken; with most of them receiving numerous calls from home inquiring if the Australian immigration authority has cancelled visas of two Bhutanese dependents. Last night, members of the Association of Bhutanese in Perth confirmed that authorities questioned four Bhutanese and no visas were cancelled.  This comes as a relief to parents, relatives and especially to hundreds of Bhutanese waiting to go to Australia to study. It would have been  a big blow had the authorities cancelled [... Read More]

A Pandora’s box of past land scams

The cold Thimphu air, especially in South Thimphu, is filled with suspense, as conjectures are made as to whom the Anti Corruption Commission will call next to interrogate, following the detention of the former Chang gup and two land commission officials, present and former. It is not clear why, but some landowners fear that many may be called, and a lot can be exposed.  This is interesting for two reasons.  One, because, going by the apprehension and suspense, there could be lot of land-related issues [... Read More]

A thriving illegal trade

How do illegal businesses erupt?  What fosters their growth?  And what does it really mean to our society? We need to ask these questions and seek answers because a bulk of our people today is into illegal sandalwood business.  What we know from our story today is that our people of Paro are buying sandalwood from India and selling it across the border in the north. It is a business, all right.  Every citizen has the right to make money and better his own future.  [... Read More]

Neighbourly celebration – is it possible?

If  the royal Bhutan police had strictly followed their announcement, prohibiting the explosion of firecrackers during Diwali (the festival of lights), a lot of people would already have been arrested for disturbing the peace and quiet. Besides the flowers, colours and lights, a constant bursting of crackers has filled the tranquil evening air.  Some go on until past midnight without any remorse that the loud noises are disturbing neighbours, or a mother trying hard to put her sick child to sleep. Bhutanese love celebrations.  Sometimes, [... Read More]

The expensive option

When the 2015 academic session commences, some parents will change their children’s school, if not their mind of sending them to private schools.  10 private schools have increased their fee, with one school almost doubling it. That didn’t go down well with some parents.  If they choose to continue in the same school, they will have to pay through the nose.  Educating a child is expensive, more so if they choose to send to private schools.  But like a school proprietor said, parents can withdraw [... Read More]

The gungtong issue

The gungtong (unoccupied house) issue is back again.  This time it is from Samdrupjongkhar where local government officials fear that at least one house is getting emptied every year. In a desperate attempt to look for solutions, villagers are requesting the government to annul and take over gungtongs, or mandate at least one member of each gung (household) to remain in the village.  There is a reason for villagers to go to this extreme.  It is not because they want their neighbour’s gung annulled, but [... Read More]

Why are our children sick?

Education is in the limelight once again. This time, however, the noble sector is generating public interest for a reason that is not altogether a happy one. A school in remote Zhemgang is grappling with what appears to be peripheral neuropathy, a disease caused by nutritional deficiency. A team of health officials from Thimphu is in Gomphu Lower Secondary School investigating the case. There are 35 students with symptoms of nutritional deficiency. This has left the teachers, education officials and parents worried. Yes, we need [... Read More]

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