Sunday, April 26th, 2015 - 7:02 PM
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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 the day, the department of hydro met services takes stock of the climate knowledge, built in the last decades, as an essential base to support the path towards more ambitious action to address climate change and variability.  We are not sure how much a small department in a small ministry of a small country can do to address climate change, or how much crucial information is released to global decision makers to help fight climate change.


Third hospitality institute starts operation

DSC03893All set: Trainees at BITH in Bondey, Paro (Photo courtesy : BITH)

Bongde Institute of Hospitality and Tourism began yesterday with 30 trainees

Tourism: To professionalise the industry by producing well-trained manpower for the hospitality sector, the Bongde Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (BIHT) started operations from yesterday with its first batch of 30 trainees.

Located in Bondey, Paro, BIHT is the third tourism and hospitality institute in the country, initiated with support from a Swiss-based foundation, Bhutan Learning Exchange Foundation.

BIHT’s master trainers said the founder was a Dutch anthropologist, who had worked in Bhutan for more than two decades, during which she saw the need for such a project, considering Bhutan’s job market scenario.  The foundation contributed about Nu 7M (million) to set up the institute.

The institute has six trainers and offers a one-year course in food production (kitchen), food and beverage and housekeeping, besides a three-month internship with established hotels in the country.  Of the 30 trainees, most have completed their class XII, while the rest are class X dropouts.  The trainees pay Nu 21,000 a year for boarding, food, and uniform.


Surgery camp helps scores to see clearly

Matured cataract the most common cause for failing vision

 Health: Daza, 70, was losing her vision to cataract.  Her vision blurred with age, and she had difficulty recognising people.  Everyday, the woman from Dewathang worried about going blind soon.

She was not alone.  Almost all of the 50 other people from Samdrupjongkhar and neighbouring dzongkhags had suffered similar matured cataract, or a condition before a person turns blind.

An eye surgery mobile unit from the JDWNRH on a three-day camp restored their vision, dispelling all worries about darkness engulfing their lives.


Thimphu football league prize money upped 300 percent

… following the arrival of a new sponsor 

Football: In what could further improve the standard of the sport, the prize money for the winners of the upcoming Yanmer Thimphu Premier League, previously known as the Thimphu A division league, has been increased to Nu 400,000.

The renaming of the competition to Yanmer Thimphu Premier League was announced at a press conference yesterday.

Yanmer is a Japanese diesel engine manufacturing company that also sponsors football teams Manchester United of the United Kingdom and Borussia Dortmund of Germany. The company is also a key sponsor for the Asian Football Confederation Champions league and the Japanese Football League.

Yanmer is now the main sponsor of the league.


Woola workers testify

The court is trying to verify whether they did indeed contribute labour to the project

Update: Of the 18 names submitted to the court, 14 people testified that they worked for the Lhakhang Karpo project in the ongoing case at the Haa district court on March 20.

They also submitted in writing that four people, including one deceased, who were not present during the witness hearings, worked with them.

The court summoned them as witnesses to testify if they were deputed by lapon (supervisor) Lhab Dorji on behalf of the 28 households that paid Nu 3,000 each in lieu of their labour contributions.   Some hired workers worked for 15 days to five months.

Based on the findings of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), attorney general’s office (OAG) charged Lhab Dorji for embezzlingf Nu 126,305 after he failed to account for the persons deputed on behalf of the 19 households.


13,732 rural households face drinking water problem

The status on rural water supply was shared as Bhutan observed the World Water Day

Water: About 13,732 rural households across the country are facing drinking water problem, according to a rural water supply inventory, 2014 that the public health and engineering division (PHED) conducted.

Chief engineer Rinchen Wangdi presented the status of drinking water in the country, as Bhutan observed the World Water Day themed, “Water and Sustainable Development” at the Walakha nunnery shedra in Punakha, yesterday.  As part of the event, health officials also presented three water filters to the shedra.

While the water shortage problem is not severe in Bhutan, as compared to other countries, he said, the issue still deserved attention.


Forest fire not yet contained

Forest fire: The forest fire in Jarigang, Athang gewog that has been blazing since March 15 is still not contained, and has now spread to Ula village in Rubesa gewog.

Athang gup Khandu Dorji said the fire has continued to rage for a week now and last week’s rain didn’t help contain the fire.

Locals, volunteers, foresters, PHPA fire fighters, army personnel and police are still at the site containing the fire.

The other fire that started in Baychutop in Daga gewog was contained on March 21. However, another forest fire started near Takshachu in Daga gewog, which is about 19kms from Baychutop, since March 21 night. The fire has spread into the forest of Tsirang near Taksha.


Royal tour of southern dzongkhags

unnamedRoyal tour: Their Majesties with officials and the mandir construction team at the Shivalaya Mandir in Samtse.

Visit: His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen, who are on a royal tour of the southern dzongkhags visited the Shivalaya Mandir, the Samtse College of Education (SCE), and Samtse Lower Secondary School during Their Majesties’ visit to Samtse recently.

His Majesty the King granted audiences to the students and teachers at the school, and the students and lecturers of SCE.

His Majesty also inspected the construction of the Shivalaya mandir (temple). His Majesty commanded the construction of the mandir after the Royal wedding as a gift to the community. The mandir, which has been constructed out of intricately carved sandstone, and features marble statues of Lord Shiva and other deities, was built around a sacred site where a small mandir previously stood. It will be completed this year, coinciding with the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

During the Royal Tour to the southern dzongkhags, Their Majesties earlier travelled to Phuentsholing and Gelephu.


To clean the commercial sector of corruption

Launch of Consumer Protection Rules and Regulations at clock tower square yesterday

MoEA: Customers can now lodge a complaint, if they feel shopkeepers have overcharged them for a fake product.

To protect consumers from unfair trade practices and create awareness on consumer protection, the economic affairs ministry yesterday launched the Consumer Protection Rules and Regulations at the clock tower square in Thimphu.

The rules and regulations include rights and responsibilities of consumers, duties of service provider, manufacturer and suppliers, misleading, false representation and unfair trade practices, and administrative penalties, among others.

Economic affairs minister, Norbu Wangchuk, said the actors in growing economy are the business people and consumers. “We must ensure that the relationship that ensues out of the transaction between the consumers and the businesses are healthy, positive and good for themselves as well as the economy,” lyonpo said. “Good relationship between the consumers and businesses mean safe products and services, fair prices and correct information about the products and services.”


Helping consumers protect themselves

If the crowd gathered at the Clock Tower Square in the capital was anything to go by, there is an uphill task for the office of consumer protection to ensure that consumers are fairly treated.

The awareness campaign on consumer rights, trading activities and protecting consumers from unfair trade practices didn’t draw a huge crowd, even if it was in the business district.  The few attendees came to watch the comedians and listen to the songs.  Hopefully, they got the message.

But the event organised was one of the most important awareness campaigns that could affect all, sellers and buyers both.  It has been decades since people have complained about unfair trade practices – starting from not following the maximum retail price, to selling expired goods, and not receiving receipts for goods purchased.