Saturday, April 25th, 2015 - 4:55 PM
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Roads blocked!

For long, it was a dream for thousands of Bhutanese for an internal road network, connecting Daifam in the east to Sipsoo in the west.

There were all the reasons for such a big dream, an alternate route connecting the length of the country.  Travelling along the Assam-Bengal highway was not safe, reliable or convenient.

Ruffling through old files, chimis, then members of the national assembly, had repeatedly voiced the need for a road.  It was not only people’s representatives from the beneficiary dzongkhags or gewogs.  There was a unanimous voice led by the business representative.  The government, even if it understood the importance, couldn’t take it up.  There was just no money for such a huge project.  There were other priorities, more important.


Second employment agency suspended

Agent reportedly failed to adhere to five provisions of the BOEA regulations

MoLHR: The labour and human resources ministry recently suspended Lama Youth Employment pvt ltd from operations until further notice for breaching several provisions of the Bhutanese Overseas Employment Agents (BOEA) regulations.

The March 16 suspension order states that the agent is not allowed to select, recruit, or deploy jobseekers, including the job vacancies approved earlier, until further notice from the ministry. “All job seekers are asked to refrain from availing services from the agent with immediate effect,” the notification states.

Officials from the overseas employment unit with the ministry said that the agent failed to adhere to five provisions of the BOEA regulations.  An employee of Lama Youth Employment filed a complaint of illegal recruitment process with the ministry, following issues with the proprietor last October.


Picture story

Deputy Chief of Mission, Indian Embassy, Bishwadip Dey hands over two cheques of Nu 138.60 million for Gyalposhing – Nganglam Highway and Nu 105 million for Gomphu – Panbang Highway, to GNHC secretary Sonam Wangchuk, yesterday.

The money is the first and second releases for the respective projects under 11th Plan Project Tied Assistance. The government of India has committed Nu 28,000 million for PTA under 11th Plan


Even graduates and master’s degree holders struggle to find jobs: Study

An eight-point plan is proposed to complement existing initiatives and policies

Labour: A recent study has revealed that a majority of youth, despite having college degrees, including a master’s degree, can spend more than a year unemployed.

The study, conducted by the labour ministry and the UNDP, to find the perceptions of unemployed youth, found that almost 42 percent of 1,128 youth surveyed had been looking for a job for more than a year, and had either a bachelor’s or master’s degree.  A further 41 percent had finished class XII.

The survey sample included 631 females and 497 males in April last year.

Twenty seven percent had been looking for a job for between six months and a year.  Seventy five percent of them had either a bachelor’s or master’s degree.


Unfinished business in Bara

DSC_0273The incomplete science laboratory in Sherab Gatshel Lower Secondary School in Bara, Samtse

A BHU, science lab and teacher’s quarter remain incomplete four years after work started 

Construction: After waiting for almost four years, the people of Bara gewog in Samtse have given up the hope of a basic health unit (BHU), a science laboratory, and a teacher’s quarter for Sherabgatshel lower secondary school.

The construction works have not resumed since the termination of the two contractors last year.  The contractors were terminated after they were found to have breached the contract agreement.

The contractors were given extra time with penalty to complete the work, but they still could not complete the work.

Rinchen Dorji, ex-gup of Bara, said that terminating the contractors at the last moment was not the best option.

“Why was there the need to terminate them when the construction was about to finish?” asked Rinchen Dorji.  There should have been proper checks and balances in place, he added.

The contractors were working in haste, said some villagers, who think the quality of work could have suffered.  Villagers said they never saw the work being supervised.


Picture story

Nobding range office in Wangdue rescued a wild female sambar deer from a pack of stray dogs on March 16. The deer was taken to the animal rehabilitation centre in Lobesa and is now recovering.


At least a year to set up central schools: Ed. minister

IMG_3049Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa and officials on the premises of Tsangkha Central school

All schools needed more facilities to meet concept of central school

Education: Putting in place all the facilities for the central schools across the country might take at least a year, according to education minister Mingbo Dukpa, who is currently visiting the 24 pilot schools.

One of the reforms initiated in the education sector, the central schools were initiated to address the issue of informal boarding.  Implementation of central schools in 24 pilot schools began from this academic session.

However, lyonpo said that, in terms of infrastructure and facilities, all six central schools, like Tsangkha in Trongsa, Pasakha in Chukha, Sonamthang in Zhemgang, were in a disadvantaged position.  Most needed more facilities to meet the concept of a central school.

“Since it’s the first year, facilities like dormitory and classrooms are lacking in some central schools,” lyonpo said, adding the shortage is expected to remain until next year.

For instance, Tsangkha Central School (TCS) will still need an additional hostel for both boys and girls.


Why not recruit all B.Ed. graduates?

Given the longstanding teacher shortage in district, Wangdue DT questions govt.’s logic

Education: Local leaders of Wangdue questioned the rationality of the government’s recent decision to not recruit all the trained B.Ed. graduates, during the ninth dzongkhag tshogdu that ended on March 18.

Such a decision, according to them, wasn’t logical, especially when rural schools have been facing teacher shortage for years.

Raising the issue, Kashi gup Rinchen Penjore said a primary school in Kashi has been short of about three teachers for years.

He said the issue however wasn’t just in Kashi.  Many schools across the district and the country are faced with same problem, especially rural.


Volunteering for happiness

I love working in groups with different people, and I get a feeling of satisfaction when others are happy because of my deeds. Overall, being a volunteer teaches us the true meaning of life, and how we can lead a happy life”, says Chencho Dema, 22, who was selected as the Youth Volunteer of the Year in 2014. Last year, Chencho founded the “Helping Hand” student volunteer group in Trashiyangtse Institute for Zorig Chusum where she works as an ICT instructor.

Happiness is closely linked to volunteerism. According to the latest GNH Survey (2010) in Bhutan, people who volunteered reported higher personal happiness levels and stronger feeling of belonging to their community. Yet, there remains plenty of untapped potential to engage more people in meaningful and rewarding voluntary work.


Maternity leave for working mothers

The commission will at last go beyond paying lip service to the importance of breast-feeding

RCSC: In what could come as good news for working mothers, the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) has started reviewing measures to make working conditions more favourable for breastfeeding mothers.

The commission’s chairperson, Karma Tshiteem, said the Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulations 2012 (BCSR) already has provisions for flexi-timing and facilitation of breast feeding mothers at work.

“But due to lack of clear framework for implementation, there is no consistency in uniform application of such provisions,” the chairperson said.

Given the importance of breastfeeding and its underlying health impact to the population, the commission is looking at providing extended paid maternity leave and granting a year long unpaid maternity leave to enable mothers to spend more time with their newborns.