KuenselOnline

Saturday, April 25th, 2015 - 9:57 PM
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Communities comes of age

Pemagatshel may be a backward dzongkhag, economically, but when it comes to expressing their rights, they are not far behind. The villagers of Nangkhor stopped a private mining company from digging below their village.  When villagers were consulted about the mine, not many agreed to the idea.  A vote was called for and only six villagers gave it the green light.  The remaining 53 were adamant that mining was no good for them, even if they understood it would benefit the country’s economy. We can [... Read More]

Market forces or middlemen machinations?

Bhutan’s vegetable export is increasing at a steady pace.  We are well on track to meet the target of 7,500 metric tonnes a year by 2018. But there is hardly anything to rejoice.  We are importing almost five times more than what we export.  For instance, we exported vegetables worth Nu 53 million in 2013, but imported vegetables worth about Nu 468M. The deficit is huge.  We can only do so much to reduce the gap.  That is the reality.   Vegetable is a seasonal [... Read More]

A special ‘labour camp’

The labour ministry’s initiative to organise vocational education camp in winter deserves fulsome praise.  It is a great initiative, particularly at a time when thousands of our young people are not in school and whiling away their time doing things that are not productive. At the first winter camp in Trashigang last week, students said that two weeks was too short.  They wanted to learn more.  Participants were class X students, who are waiting for their board exam results.  Some of them will go for [... Read More]

Back to basics

Not so long ago, we believed that as a small country with a small population, food self-sufficiency wasn’t a huge concern, and that it was within our grasp.  That was when our farms were the source of livelihood, and farmers stayed back to produce food. A lot has changed since then.  We achieved impressive growth rates, at times to the envy of many countries.  But as the stats start flowing from the central bank, there are worrying revelations.  One figure that demands immediate attention is [... Read More]

Too much chop and change

I’s an expressway!  No, it’s an urban road network.  Wait, It was a road link, but now it will be an expressway. Confusing?  Yes.  But more confusing are the decisions authorities take to ensure the 6.2-kilometre long double lane Babesa-Thimphu road is safe for motorists and pedestrians. In the latest development, at least in planning and not actually on the road, the Thimphu thromde has decided to remove the 11 speed bumps that also serve as zebra crossings.  Underpasses will replace them.  To start with, [... Read More]

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]

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