Friday, May 29th, 2015 - 6:06 AM
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ACC shuts down shops in Phuentsholing

DSC_1018Closed for investigation: The Jatan Prasad Lal Chand Prasad complex was shut down along with other shops in Phuentsholing yesterday

Corruption: The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) closed down three shops in Phuentsholing town last evening for alleged corrupt practices.

While details are sketchy, sources said the commission’s team had also apprehended at least 20 people, mostly non-Bhutanese, for interrogation.

The ACC team, accompanied by police personnel, zoomed into a busy JPLP, which is one of the biggest complexes in town, located near the Zangtopelri roundabout yesterday evening.  After about an hour long interrogation, the commission team sealed the entrance to the complex.

An Indian man with a legitimate Bhutanese license owns the JPLP.  Meanwhile, Rigsel Enterprise and Tsheldrup Enterprise are the other two shops the ACC team closed down.


Court not convinced by OAG’s evidence

The cases against the then Haa dzongdag are looking increasingly untenable

Update: The Haa district court was not convinced with the rebuttal submission of evidence by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) against foreign minister Rinzin Dorje, who has been charged on omission, amounting to abuse of function and embezzlement of public property.


Longevity of Bhutan’s glaciers questionable

Though the 2035 Himalayan deadline was deemed wrong, the same can’t be said for the ones here 

Symposium: Bigger Himalayan glaciers, like Siachen and Gangotri in India, can survive 300 years even with the current recession rate of 20m on an average a year, according to experts from the Geological Survey of India (GSI).

But that is no consolation for Bhutan.

The director, glaciology division of the GSI, Arun Chaturvedi, at the recent international glacier symposium at Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment in Bumthang, said the same could not be said about glaciers in Bhutan.


Streamlining the environmental assessment process

The idea is to strike a balance between expediency and eco-friendly conditions

Environment: To improve the environment assessment process, the environmental impact assessment (EIA) will be categorised and the terms of reference (ToR) simplified.

This was deliberated during a dialogue on assessment of projects for environmental clearance (EC) between the National Environment Commission (NEC) and the six eastern dzongkhags, yesterday.


Say no to no NFE

It’s a shame that the education ministry’s most successful programme, the non-formal education, is in dire need of attention.

Giving an opportunity for those, who missed out formal education, the programme came as a boon for the ones who could not read and write.  Its popularity was evident from the numbers that enrolled.  Since it started in 1992, about 160,000 have benefited, which UNESCO recognised with the Confucius prize for literacy.


Gasa’s chicken-and-egg predicament

gasa-1Gasa dzong

Without a thromde, there are no people and without people there can be no election

Township: While the people of Gasa, the least populated dzongkhag, are excited about having a thromde, it will take more than sheer excitement for the dzongkhag to make the next thromde election happen.

According to local leaders, none of Gasa’s more than 100 business license holders have their census registered with the town.  Temporary sheds below the dzong are today functioning as the town.

The dzongkhag could not conduct the first thromde election, as there was neither a town nor people registered with the thromde to elect a thuemi.

In 2012, following the mid-term review, about 86 acres of land from Kolikha, a few kilometres from the dzong, was identified for the new town.  Both the cadastral and topographical surveys were completed on the new land in 2013, and land levelling works were done last year.


Hospitality industry struggles to fill slots

Both high and low-end positions lie vacant as Bhutanese remain either unable or unwilling

Tourism: The hospitality industry still finds it difficult to recruit Bhutanese to perform certain jobs that so far are done by expatriate workers, for whom the labour ministry no longer issues work permits.

Almost three years ago, the labour ministry made it mandatory for hotels and other sectors to replace expatriate workers with Bhutanese in several categories of jobs like wet sweepers, laundry, and cooks.


Need for school calls teacher volunteers

Education: Six male teachers from Orong Lower Secondary School (OLSS) volunteered to teach on a rotation basis for a year at Pheluma Extended Classroom (ECR) that was reopened a few days ago after ministry’s instruction.

The 22 students of the extended classroom returned to their village to continue their education on April 17 after spending more than two months in OLSS.

The students were shifted to OLSS at the beginning of the academic session after a miscommunication between parents and the school officials.


Lhakhang finds new home in El Paso

unnamedCurious: People line up to enter the lhakhang

The structure was first made in Washington, DC for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Heritage: Seven years after first being constructed in Washington, DC for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a lhakhang made by Bhutanese artisans has been permanently installed on the 366-acre campus of the University of Texas, El Paso.

The lhakhang, a gift to the university by the kingdom, is the showpiece of a new 16-acre, $22 million park at the centre of the university campus.

The Bhutanese ambassador to the United Nations, Kunzang Choden Namgyel, arrived from New York for the official opening ceremony.  It was also attended by the 18-Bhutanese students, who currently studying in the university.


Court directs DGM to explain cracks

IMG_5409DGM officials inspecting the blasting site (File photo)

Both sides in ongoing case wish to present more witnesses to bolster their pleas

Gidawom: Thimphu dzongkhag court’s bench II has asked the Department of Geology and Mines (DGM) to explain what caused the cracks on some 27 houses in Gidawom and Jamdo villages on July 12 last year.

In the ongoing case between the Gidawom villagers and the four mining companies, both parties requested the court yesterday to allow them to present more witnesses.

A former DGM employee, who was in charge of the Khasadrapchu region office, and an official from the rural water supply scheme with the health ministry, were among the witnesses the parties requested to present.