Connectivity: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will be ready to implement the Nganglam-Dewathang highway and the Lhamoizingkha-Sarpang highway once the security situation in the area improves.
While the 68.3km Nganglam-Dewathang highway (NDH) has been postponed, the 98km Lhamoizingkha-Sarpang highway has been dropped.
Findings: Over 60 percent of mines and quarries in the country have violated the environment clearance terms and conditions.
It was found that most mines and quarries were not in line with the final mine feasibility study, environment management plan, had poor management of overburden materials, poor dust suppression and delayed implementation of progressive restoration works.
That Bhutan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal have signed an important agreement on motor vehicle movement in the region comes as good news for the member countries.
Bhutanese can now take truckloads of goods all the way to Dhaka, without having to transship to Bangladeshi or Indian trucks, and bring back goods from Dhaka. Such a hassle had been an impediment in the export and import business for many decades.
One more customs officer detained, one more business license suspended
ACC: In its ongoing investigation, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) detained one more customs official and suspended another business license in Phuentsholing this week.
ACC investigators detained the customs officer on June 14, making him the fifth customs official to be interrogated and detained since April 20, in connection with the alleged customs maladministration, entrenched corruption in the fraudulent import and deflection of goods, under invoicing and wrongful declaration of goods, tax evasion and repatriation of INR (Indian rupee).
Power: The Bhutan Power corporation (BPC) bears a cost of about Nu 3.3M (million) for providing free rural electricity after the supply exceeded the requirement.
In giving free electricity to the rural homes as pledged, the government has allotted 54MU (million units) of electricity from its total royalty energy of 1,049MU.
However, BPC’s managing director, Dasho Bharat Tamang, said the actual consumption was 57MU and that the company was bearing the loss for the difference. Each rural home receives 100 units of free electricity.
Cordyceps: While Tang and Chumey gewogs in Bumthang saw yet another round of poor cordyceps (cordyceps sinensis) collection, collectors from Chokhor have returned from the mountains with bountiful harvest this year.
Last year, Bumthang reported poor collection of cordyceps. By early June, most collectors returned home following the scarcity of priced caterpillar. Collection ends only by June 26.
Nima from Chorkhortoe, who returned from Gangkarpuensum, said that most of the collectors are still up in the mountains because of better harvest this year.
“They will continue combing the mountains until the end of this month,” Nima said. Nima managed to collect around 1,500 cordyceps this year compared with less than a 100 last year. “This year I collected 600 caterpillars in two days, almost 100 every day.”
World cup: Bhutan national football team lost their first international game at the Changlimithang stadium, when the team was humbled 6-0 by the People’s Republic of China in the first home game of the second round of the World Cup qualifiers yesterday.
What was dubbed as the clash of the two dragons, the bigger dragon out-roared the Dragon Boys, as many predicted. The Bhutanese team had a promising start in the first half, as they defended a wave of Chinese attacks. However, in the final seconds of the added two minutes, the deadlock was broken, when striker Yang Xu slid in the first goal miss footing the Bhutanese goalie, Hari Gurung.
Dungsam: Dungsam Cement’s production may pick up now with the biggest cement consumer in hydropower construction, Larsen and Toubro (LNT) agreeing to procure the Dragon cement.
Earlier, it was learnt that Dungsam cement supplied about 20 percent of the total cement requirement for the hydropower construction, with LNT refusing to procure Bhutanese cement, even though Dungsam cement could easily meet both the demand and standards at a competitive price.
Pact expected to expand trade and economic exchanges between four countries
Trade: A Bhutanese commercial truck should be able to transport locally grown fruits all the way to Dhaka and bring back goods like clothes starting some time next year, following the signing of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement (BBIN MVA) in Thimphu, yesterday.
While it was agreed among the transport ministers of the four countries that the BBIN MVA should be implemented in six months rather than 12, its operationalisation will depend on when it is ratified by respective cabinets or parliaments. Implementation is scheduled to begin by October, this year.
Bilateral or trilateral agreements will also have to be made between the four countries which will specify details on, for instance, the quantity of commercial or private vehicles that will be allowed into Bhutan on a reciprocal basis, entry and exit points, routes, types of permits that will be required, customs related issues, and fees, among others.
National Assembly endorses amendment proposed by National Council
Parliament: Commissioners and members of constitutional offices may be reappointed for a maximum second term but they will have to resign from the civil service on their appointment.
This is in line with the Entitlement and Service Conditions Act for the holders, members and commissioners of constitutional office of Bhutan (amendment) bill 2014 that the National Assembly endorsed yesterday.