Friday , October 20 2017
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Lessons from Merak

We have come to a point in our development journey when the challenges we face demand extraordinary resolve to act, not just with level-headed planning, but also with a sense of greater urgency. While the urban centres are facing rapid population growth and housing shortage, houses in the villages are being increasingly abandoned.

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Alternative facts matter

Bhutan’s struggle with rampant use and abuse of controlled substances is a national issue. It is no secret that the ban on tobacco has cultivated a black market that law enforcement agencies are unable to crack. Yet, we appear to be in denial.

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Increase local rice production

The news that Food Corporation Bhutan (FCB) will continue to buy local rice despite poor marketability is welcome. It perhaps is the only way to encourage farmers to continue growing local rice and thereby increasing rice production in the country. Already, the Cabinet has instructed FCB to procure paddy from Wangdue, Punakha, Tsirang, Sarpang, and Samdrupjongkhar.

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The agriculture crisis

Rapid urbanisation and ever-increasing demand for infrastructure development is pushing agriculture or food production to the backseat. Close to 700 acres of paddy fields have been lost to road, building, and township development; about 323 acres more to illegal conversion of wetland and natural disasters.

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Employ caution this season

The roar of the monsoon is getting louder by the day. Streams, rivulets and rivers have swollen to dangerous levels. We are yet to witness the full power of the season. Already, we have seen what it had to show us in the myriad ways it does.

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Ban has not worked. Now what?

World Health Organisation’s South-East Asia report on mental health status of adolescent has found that Bhutan has the highest percentage (29.3) of adolescent tobacco users and also the highest percentage (12) of marijuana users in the region. About 24.2 percent of Bhutanese adolescents drink.

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