Saturday, April 19th, 2014 - 7:49 AM

The end and the beginning

Year ender (Parliament) On March 6 last year, Bhutan’s first Parliament wrapped up with its 10th and the final session.

“It gives me great pleasure today to find us all here five years later, at the final session of the first Parliament of democratically elected members,” His Majesty, at the closing ceremony, said.

The first Parliament had enacted 38 legislations and 18 international conventions over the years. It was a perfect ending.

But [... Read More]

PM-led Bhutan delegation to third BIMSTEC summit

Year ender (Home) Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay will head the Bhutanese delegation to the third Bay of Bengal initiative for multi-sectoral technical and economic cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit on March 4 at the Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.

The delegation will include the foreign affairs minister and senior government officials.

The 14th BIMSTEC ministerial meeting and the 16th senior officials meeting will precede the summit, a press release from the foreign ministry stated.

During the summit, lyonchhoen will hold [... Read More]

Power of the snake

Year ender (Energy) While the snake year charmed the rural lot with free electricity, along with an electricity tariff revision in October, the fangs bit the industrialists.

In keeping with their pledge, the new government announced ‘up to 100 units’ free electricity for rural households.

But nothing is for free. The cost of supply for 100 units a household is subsidised from the royalty energy of 15 percent received from the Druk [... Read More]

Competition cuts off-season airfares

Year ender (Aviation) Competition on the popular Bangkok route caused airfares to hit a record low in 2013.

A price war between new entrant Bhutan Airlines (Tashi Air pvt ltd) and Drukair led to fares dropping as low as Nu 10,000 on the Paro-Bangkok sector.

With Bhutan Airlines planning to add more international routes this year, more drops in airfares could occur.

While prices will bounce back to normal rates in the tourist [... Read More]

Second parliamentary elections, 2013

To a large extent, in both council and assembly, voters went for change

Year ender (Elections) In keeping with the character of the reptile, Bhutan went through a moulting process in the year of the snake, shedding the first democratically government and ushering in a new one.

The country last year voted former opposition party, People’s Democratic party, as the second government. A new set of National Council was also put in place.

The process, though, [... Read More]

Lowest growth in tourist numbers

Year ender (Tourism) Bhutan’s infinite charms were able to draw only 10 percent more tourists last year – the lowest growth in five years. But the rise in the dollar, and the minimum daily tariff brought some relief.

In all, 116,224 international and regional tourists visited last year.

The international or dollar-paying tourists arrival was 52,798, an increase of only 329 tourists from the previous year.

Bhutan is facing rising competition from destinations, such as Myanmar and [... Read More]

Poaching of wild animals on the up

Year ender (Wildlife) The year of the snake came to the rescue of its kin, the reptilian tokay gecko.

The nocturnal Asian lizard, believed to be prized for its medicinal value in the illegal wildlife trade circuit, kept foresters in the southern belt busy, and the mainstream and social media active.

The reptile came into the limelight in October, when foresters of Gelephu range office rescued a 14-inch long tokay gecko from the Gelephu tsachu caretaker.

While [... Read More]

364 held in anti-drug drive

Year ender (Crime) As a part of its ongoing drug bust, 364 people from across the country were arrested for possession, consumption, and trafficking of controlled substances, Thimphu police revealed yesterday.

Of the total, 152 were charged for drug abuse, 145 for abuse and possession, and the rest for trafficking.

The crackdown began since last December. Police seized about 59kg of marijuana, 910g of brown sugar, and 550g of dendrite. Police also found 22,917 spasmoproxyvon capsules, [... Read More]

Dominated by football

Year ender (Football) What could be more exciting than watching LIVE one’s favourite football team thrash the other, whoever that may be? The FIFA World Cup? Of course!

While football dominated the sports arena in the year of the snake, the World Cup was the highlight with thousands lining up at the Changlimithang stadium to get a glimpse of the 18 carat gold trophy, deemed more valuable than its worth in gold.

As Brazil prepares to [... Read More]

A silver lining to the Rupee crunch

Vegetable exports have more than doubled since the liquidity crisis first hit

Year ender (Agriculture) The upside of the rupee crunch was that the agriculture sector doubled vegetable exports to India.

The goal in 11th five-year Plan (FYP) is to halve what comes into the country, and triple what goes out. Bhutan exported 1,563MT of vegetables from January to August in the year of the snake, earning more than Nu 24M.  This was the highest export [... Read More]