Sunday, March 29th, 2015 - 3:21 PM
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Phumzur – The village that time (almost) forgot

IMG_0688Phumzur village

Developmental activities have by and large passed this remote Langthel settlement by

Monpa: No road leads to the village.  No electricity powers their homes.  Even leaders and officials do not walk up to the village.  The home of the Monpa community in Phumzur, the remote village in Langthel, Trongsa has fallen on a blind spot of development for years.

Until recently, most of its 22 households lived in wooden shingle huts.  With help from Tarayana Foundation, they have now started building stonemason homes.


OAG defends charges against foreign minister

DSC06821Foreign minister Rinzin Dorje with MP Ritu Raj Chhetri before the court proceedings yesterday

Court: Foreign minister Rinzin Dorje’s unilateral decision to award timber sawing works for the Lhakhang Karpo conservation project in Haa had illegitimately benefited a saw-miller, according to the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) prosecutors.

In their rebuttal statement submitted to the Haa district court yesterday, prosecutors explained why Lyonpo Rinzin Dorje was charged for omission amounting to abuse of function.


Opposition calls for reinstatement of secretaries

They have also asked for the Cabinet and the economic affairs minister to be held accountable

RCSC: The opposition party yesterday called for the reinstatement of the three surrendered government secretaries to their original positions, stating that imposing a major penalty in the form of a reassignment for procedural lapses was not justified.


Bhutan to declare protected river system

IMG_2878Protecting rivers: The Thimchhu is one of the most polluted rivers in the country

It will be the first country to do so in the region

Environment: Bhutan will be the first country in the region to declare a protected river system. This declaration will be made in September.

Experts from various local organisations and the World Wildlife Fund  (WWF) are working on a project to identify potential rivers or their stretches to declare protected.

It is a tribute to the Fourth Druk Gyalpo on the 60th birth anniversary and to fulfil one of the key targets of the 11th Plan.


Finance ministry faces contradictory targets

Anomalies were highlighted during midterm review of MoF performance agreement

Fiscal: Some of the targets the finance ministry agreed to in the performance agreement signed with the government are contradicting other targets the ministry is working to achieve.

For instance, the ministry agreed to secure concessional loans, but securing more and more concessional loans to finance capital expenditure could increase non-hydro debt, and maintaining non-hydro debt below 35 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) as agreed.


A test case for the civil service

With the recent development in the case of the three secretaries to the government, there are more questions being asked.

The Royal Civil Service Commission decided to reassign them, a decision that many felt was very neutral, as the news of the decision spread.  However, it is not announced or even decided if the commission had finalised where to reassign three senior secretaries, who had held important portfolios at the highest positions in the civil service.


Tourist footfalls well below eastern Bhutan target

Around one-sixth of the projected number visited eastern parts of the country

Tourism: Only about 3.6 percent of the international tourists visited the eastern parts of the country last year, against the target of 20 percent that the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) had set to improve regional spread of tourism benefits.


Programme to go on despite nominal participation


Meet the people: On an average, only about 10 people attend the government’s Meet the People Programme.

Since the launch of the programme on August 24, 2013, about 740 people have shared their grievances over 74 sessions of the programme.  The grievances included issues concerning lawsuits, employment, census, education loans, land cases and administrative disputes.

The programme has addressed and resolved about 60 percent of the issues that were brought up before the ministers.


“Music should be for love not to make money”

DSC07910Lucky Ali sings at a local establishment in Thimphu Photo: Sonam Gyeltshen, TCB

Indian singer and songwriter, Lucky Ali, recently visited Bhutan and performed in Thimphu for the Bhutan International Festival. He made his debut with the soulful album Sunoh and his song O Sanam is considered by many to be his best song. He is well known in Bhutan. Kuensel’s Gyalsten K Dorji caught up with the singer during his stay here.

Q&A: You’re here for the Bhutan International Festival, but how’d you find out about it and why’d you choose to come to Bhutan?

It was something we wanted to do for many years but we never got the opportunity. We were waiting for the right forum to present our work and my guitarist is very closely associated with Bhutan. So when this opportunity of the festival came up and he asked us, there was no question of saying no, and we just came. I didn’t expect people to know our music. We didn’t expect the warmth and love that we got from here.


One convicted; legal proceedings for six others continue

DSC06784The Haa district court

OAG to rebut foreign minister Rinzin Dorje’s opening statement today

Lhakhang Karpo: Of the seven individuals charged with official misconduct, forgery, bribery and embezzlement in the Lhakhang Karpo corruption case, the Haa district court sentenced a 31-year old businessman from Paro to three months in prison yesterday.

Druk Leading Enterprise’s owner, Pema Wangchen, was found guilty of favouring businessman Nima, also based in Paro, in getting a contract for the procurement and supply of construction materials to repair the existing water supply system at the Lhakhang Karpo conservation project.