Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 - 11:45 AM
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OAG convinces court to seek names of ghost labourers

DSC07069The witnesses wait outside the court to testify on April 10

Initially, witness testimony was accepted without households being identified 

Lhakhang karpo: After accepting the lapon’s earlier statement, the Haa district court has now asked him to name households that provided workers for the Lhakhang Karpo conservation project.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) submitted on April 9 that the court should not consider or accept testimonies of 14 witnesses, who failed to name the persons they had worked for. “It isn’t possible for the person to forget who worked on his or her behalf,” OAG’s prosecutor said.


Dzongdags appointed

His Majesty the King has appointed Punakha Dzongdag Phub Tsering as the Bumthang Dzongdag and the Zhemgang Dzongdag Karma Drukpa as the Punakha Dzongdag.

Gasa Dzongdag Sonam Jigme is appointed as the Wangduephodrang Dzongdag and Trongsa Dzongdag Tshewang Rinzin as the Thimphu Dzongdag.


Linking the last five

IMG_5028Far flung: Lunana is one of the few gewogs not connected to internet because of its remoteness

A handful of gewogs presents the ultimate challenge to the goal of national connectivity 

Internet: To obtain a birth or death certificate, residents of Lunana have to walk 10 days to the Gasa administrative headquarters.  The return journey is another 10-day walk.

Additionally, the journey is only possible during the summer months, when the passes are not snowed under.

While mobile connectivity, recently introduced, has helped to some degree in speeding up certain administrative processes, there are limitations.

For instance, when the minutes of a meeting have to be shared with headquarters, it has to be sent on the back of a horse.


New prospects for Bhutan-Bangladesh trade

India allows Bangladesh to tranship goods to Bhutan via India

Commerce: The recent signing of a revised trade agreement between India and Bangladesh is expected to increase trade volume between Bangladesh and Bhutan.  The agreement allows Bangladesh to transship goods to Bhutan using Indian roads, water and railways.

Bangladesh, the country’s second largest trading partner after India, is the only country in the region with which Bhutan enjoys surplus of trade.  Bhutan has been officially trading with Bangladesh since 1980.


PM discusses health, education and tourism with Sri Lanka

3guard-of-honorLyonchoen with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay during his four-day visit to Sri Lanka discussed matters related to education, health, and tourism. A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed for Foreign Office Consultation between the acting foreign secretary of Bhutan and Sir Lanka’s foreign secretary.

Lyonchoen was on an official visit to Sri Lanka from April 9 to 12 on the invitation of President Maithripala Sirisena. Lyonchoen was presented with a guard of honour at the Presidential Secretariat with 19 gun salutes.

President Maithripala Sirisena also hosted a state banquet for lyonchoen and Aum Tashi Doma. Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe hosted a lunch for Lyonchoen and his delegation.

Lyonchoen also made a brief visit to the Parliament house and the Prime Minister’s Office. Minister of Higher Education and Research of Sri Lanka also called on lyonchoen during which matters related to Bhutanese students studying in Sri Lanka were discussed. There are about 200 Bhutanese studying medicine in three top universities in Sri Lanka. The foreign affairs minister, Mangala Samaraweera also called on Lyonchoen.


Some Pasakha industries miss March 31 deadline

DSC_0261One of the Pasakha factories

However, most have completed most of what was called for, viz., installation of GCPs

Pollution: Almost two weeks after missing the deadline set by the National Environment Commission (NEC), about four industries in Pasakha haven’t still completed installing the gas cleaning plant (GCP) to control pollution from fugitive emission.

Whether these industries in Pasakha are to face any action for missing the March 31 deadline will be decided this week.

Most of the industries’ officials said they failed to complete the installation of GCPs within the scheduled time because of the challenge they faced in procuring equipment from India.


Picture story

Students of Nganglam High school in Pemagatshel thank the SWAN foundation, Malaysia for donating two computers and a multi-purpose printer worth Nu 160,000 to the school. Most computers in the school are defunct and instead of waiting for the government to provide new ones, the school initiated to get their own computers and printer.


A wasteland of mediocrity?

Many Bhutanese are heading abroad. Scholarships used to be the reason. Not anymore.

For a growing number of young, talented and restive Bhutanese, going abroad means opportunity of a lifetime to make some decent money.

But why go abroad to make money? The answer is: there isn’t space enough here for them to do so. Some will come back, many will not for a long time.


Gewog boundary becomes bone of contention

DSC01592The tussle over the boundary turned for worse after the community forest was formed

One’s community forest is claimed by the other as pastureland

Highland: The highlanders of Merak and people of Phongmey are at loggerheads over the boundary demarcation between the two gewogs.

The yak herders need pastures for their cattle.  The adjoining gewog, Phongmey, is turning more forests into community forests, forcing cattle out of the locally protected areas.  Villagers of Phongmey claims that the border boundary runs until a point, known to the locals as Shingboto, above the Phongmey community forest (CF); the highlanders claim their boundary extends until Monsam that falls within the premises of the CF.

Despite repeated discussions between local leaders and people of the two gewogs, and deliberations at the dzongkhag tshogdu, the dispute is yet to be resolved.  Discussions reignited recently when about 10 cattle from Merak strayed into the community forest.


Wangphu wants an electric fence

Rather than wait for govt. intervention, villagers may have to take the initiative themselves

Wildlife: Although villagers of Wangphu gewog, Samdrupjongkhar are adamant that they have been promised an electric fencing during the agriculture minister’s visit about a month ago, the minister said he did not promise but suggested that they install electric fencing to combat the human wildlife conflict.

With increasing wildlife attacks, an issue the gewog has been tackling for decades, villagers said the tshogpa informed them that the ministry would look into the issue, and assured an electric fencing, along with a one-stop shop.  It has been more than a month now.  Villagers said they have neither heard anything from the gewog office on the status of electric fencing nor the farmers shop.