Monday, July 6th, 2015 - 11:49 PM
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Bowing out gracefully

It was a simple occasion, when former judge Ugyen Tenzin surrendered his kabney and patang to the Royal Privy Council yesterday.  But there is more than just handing over a kabney and a patang. The judge is the second senior official to do so, bringing alive the tradition of Zhidu, a tradition where individuals, honoured with symbols of power and position, hand over the paraphernalia to the one who bestowed it.  The honours are bestowed to the position, and it is a wise decision to [... Read More]

Odious comparisons

The ranking of the country’s “best performing schools” is out.  Ten schools have held on to the top positions for the last three years. School management will be proud, parents who have students studying in these schools will be happy, and students themselves will be elated.  But wait!  Do we need such a ranking system to gauge our schools?  Are the methods adopted to assess schools fair?

The e-governance gambit

The government invested a lot of money on Google Apps and with very good intentions. Google Apps was going to make the way our government worked more efficient, by cutting down needless and wasteful bureaucratic procedures, and reducing our use of paper. Nearly a year later, it has done so to a very large extent and the government’s experiment with e-governance can safely and rightly be hailed a success.

In the interest of conservation

If the judiciary is known for going by the book of law, the first case to reach the “green bench” could concern the Shingkhar-Gorgan highway. This is because conservationists, who protested against road passing through a protected area, and the habitat of the endangered Royal Bengal tiger, lost to the powerful politicians.  Going by the Forest and Conservation Rules, 2006, construction of motor roads in a protected area is prohibited.

Reining in the national game

Official archery tournaments using traditional equipment will be different now on.  Archers are not allowed to use the coveted arrows that use Monal pheasant feathers as fletches. To save the endangered birds from being killed for their feathers, the association of indigenous games and sports had banned its use and will strictly monitor the same.  This is a simple but logical rule.  Simply put, we cannot kill birds, that too an endangered species, for sport.

A boost for the Bhutan for Life initiative

Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay has returned from his 10-day trip to the United States a happy man.  There is every reason to be so. He visited the US to promote the Bhutan for Life initiative and solicit funds to make that happen.  At the end of the visit, Bhutan’s partners in this noble initiative, philanthropists and multinational corporations, together have already committed USD 40 million.

Air safety, first and last

Travel by air is considered to be the safest and the fastest.  That is why it is expensive and beyond the reach of many.  It may still be the fastest but, with increasing number of disasters in the sky, there is a growing concern. Every time news of an air crash appears, people have second thoughts on safety, even if it is momentary.  The aviation industry has been hit with several disasters in the recent past.  In 2014 alone, there were six major air crashes [... Read More]

Costly prank calls

Making anonymous prank calls is not a crime.  Most people do it once in a while.  The problem is when the wrong place is called for the wrong reasons. Going by the record of prank or hoax calls the Health Help Centre received in a year, 200,000 calls, the centre set up in the capital city to help assist people in need is being misused.  There is fun and humour in prank or crank calling, but to call such an important centre for fun is [... Read More]

Goaded into yielding ground?

The National Environment Commission has taken a bold decision.  It has delegated the authority of issuing environment clearance of at least 50 activities to relevant agencies and ministries. This will come as good news for those, who feel that getting an environment clearance is cumbersome and mired in layers of bureaucratic process.  In fact, if the decision to delegate authority was meant to speed up processes of starting a business or a project, it should have been done a long time ago. The commission comes [... Read More]

Our small but significant role

If it was not ominous, it was a bad coincidence.  Visibility in the capital city was reduced to a few hundred metres yesterday morning, as a thick blanket of opaque substance hung in the air for a while. We don’t know if it was smog, haze, fog or smoke.  But it was not a pleasant spring Thimphu morning.  Yesterday was the World Meteorological Day.  Although there was no celebration or major events organised to mark the day, Bhutan also observed the day every year. On [... Read More]

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