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Finance and foreign ministers sign performance compacts

DSC_2820Finance minister signs the performance agreement with Lyonchhoen

To reduce fiscal deficit to below three percent of GDP is one of the former’s key goals Governance: The finance minister has agreed to a target of reducing the fiscal deficit below three percent of the gross domestic product. The deficit in the 2012-2013  fiscal year was four percent. This was agreed on Monday, when lyonpo Namgay Dorji signed a performance compact with the prime minister.  Enhancing domestic revenue to cover at least 60 percent of total expenditure is another objective for the ministry. The [... Read More]

Landowners appeal for extension to vacate govt. land

DSC09633Cowshed built on government land in Ura

Encroachers: Following an appeal from landowners, who have encroached on government land in Ura, Choekhor and Chumey gewogs in Bumthang, the dzongkhag administration, through its recent tshogdu, recommended that the national land commission (NLC) extend the deadline for vacating and dismantling structures on the land by five months. Earlier, NLC has asked the landowners to vacate government land by July end.  NLC directed the dzongkhag to assess encroachment cases in April 2014, to curtail its increasing numbers in 10 dzongkhags, where people, despite receiving land [... Read More]

GoI releases INR 1.299B

DSC_2846Ambassador Gautam Bambawale hands over the cheque to lyonpo Namgay Dorji

Funds: The new Indian ambassador, Gautam Bambawale, on his first visit to the finance ministry’s office yesterday, presented a cheque of Indian rupees 1.299B to finance minister Namgay Dorji. Handing over the cheque, ambassador Bambawale said that the success of Bhutan was important for India and vice versa. “The budget is released for the smooth functioning of the government and the 11th Plan,” he said. Of the total, Nu 850M is under the programme grant and Nu 499M is excise duty refund for the 2010-11 [... Read More]

Fallen boulders rupture Mongar-Lhuentse highway

Tongkulung-road-blocked-in-LhuentseLhuntse town disconnected: Boulders falling from a cracked rock face swept away about 22m of the Lhuntse-Mongar highway

Road: Falling boulders have damaged the Lhuentse to Mongar highway near Tongkulung, creating a wide gap where the road should have been, and disconnecting parts of Lhuentse from the rest of the country. The incident happened yesterday morning around 9:50am.  Around 22m of the road and the retaining wall supporting it gave away under the force of the falling boulders.  Tongkulung is one kilometre away from Lhuentse town. Road officials said it could take several days, if not a week, before road connectivity to Lhuentse [... Read More]

Why Monpas choose to live in seclusion

IMG_2120Temporary measure: Ugyen Tamang and his elder brother crossing the bridge that connects their village and school

Though the place is remote and the life one of hardship, people here refuse to be resettled Ritey: Ugyen Tamang, 13, a student of Ritey primary school in Sarpang, wants to be a teacher.  This is the only profession he can think of, when asked what he wants to be when he grows up. No doubt a noble profession, but that’s not the reason why Ugyen wants to pursue this career.  It’s not because he idolises his teachers either.  It’s because he cannot associate himself [... Read More]

A new method of cultivating rice

IMG_5682Farmers plants rice using the new method

S/J Initiative funded the ‘system of rice intensification’ to the tune of Nu 300,000 Agriculture: Sangay Wangdi was a worried farmer about a month ago.  He did not follow the normal practice of paddy transplantation and followed agriculture officials, who were trying a new ‘system of rice intensification’ (SRI) method. The system to boost rice production required farmers to use a singly spaced young paddy seedling when transplanting.  Farmers were used to transplanting two to three seedlings. “The field looked odd after the transplantation and [... Read More]

Women empowerment through eco-tourism

20140831_101125Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji with the participants of the workshop

Workshop: Eco-tourism in protected areas will be prioritised and promoted, it was pointed out by the agriculture minister, yesterday. Speaking at the conclusion of a workshop on eco-tourism, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said that the industry represented an opportunity for Bhutan, it was stated in an agriculture ministry press release. Eco-tourists made up only 13 percent of the total number of tourists that visited the country, so far this year, it is also stated. Lyonpo pointed out that eco-tourism would ensure environmental protection, cultural preservation, and [... Read More]

Wangdue sees largest drop in crime

DSC_2336The RBP celebrated their 49th Raising Day yesterday

Police: Wangduphodrang police was recognised for being able to reduce the dzongkhag’s crime rate by the largest margin nationwide, at the 49th raising day of the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP), held yesterday. The Wangduephodrang police force received Nu 50,000 for their accomplishment. Bumthang police came in second and were awarded Nu 30,000, while Phuentsholing came third for Nu 15,000. The results were compiled after taking into account the crime rate, crime trends, detection rate, crime to police ratio, and case per officers, among others. Two [... Read More]

Motithang residents want cell phone tower relocated

IMG_20140831_175707Children play in front of the tower in question

They fear the close proximity of emissions may have an ill effect on their health Radiation: A group of Motithang residents are concerned that the radiation being emitted by a cell phone tower located in their neighbourhood is causing them ill health. Information and communications minister DN Dhungyel confirmed that residents living near the Druk Holding and Investments office in Motithang had submitted such a complaint. “It was also reported that the case was submitted to Bhutan Telecom (BT) for their intervention and consideration for [... Read More]

Gewog struggles without BHU

DSC_5686Village doctor: Budhiman tends to a fellow villager

Unfortunately, due to its low population, it does not qualify for one, as per health policy Samrang: Falling sick in Samrang gewog is an extra burden.  The remote gewog doesn’t have a basic health unit (BHU).  The nearest health centre is an hour’s walk away, in the neighbouring gewog, Pemathang. Hot and humid, the weather makes people prone to common illnesses.  The 98 people living in the gewog depend on a village health worker, whom they call their saviour. The volunteer, Budhiman Rai, 50, was [... Read More]

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