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Saturday, February 28th, 2015 - 12:52 PM
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Second notice to strike off four registered companies

Among other faults, they have failed to submit their annual reports for a number of years

Registrar: The Company Registrar division (CRD), under the department of industry, has issued a second notice to strike off four companies by early next year for failing to respond to the first notification.

The four companies are The Journalists private limited (pvt ltd), Kuenleg Construction Enterprise pvt ltd (KCEPL), Sherub Institute of Learning pvt ltd (SILPL), and Khoche Dhaychhog pvt ltd (KDPL).

According to the registrar of companies, Karma Yeshey, the first notice was given, because these companies didn’t submit their annual reports for the last three years. “After the first notice, the division had given the companies 30 days to come up with valid explanation on failing to submit the annual reports,” he said, adding that they have failed to do so.

Company registry officials said these companies have failed to report on their accounts, their postal addresses, and all other necessary information about changes in their companies’ structure and registered offices.

The newspaper and KCEPL didn’t comply with the minimum requirement of the Companies Act 2000, the registrar said. “These two companies also hadn’t conducted proper shareholders’ meetings and hadn’t maintained any kind of statutory books,” Karma Yeshey said.

Pointing specifically to the newspaper, he said there was a court case among the shareholders of this company, in which a shareholder, who is the present chief executive officer with the paper, was favoured by the court.

“After that, they could have regularised but they didn’t do for the last two years, and now it’s already three years,” he said.

Meanwhile, the other two companies, SILPL and KDPL, don’t even have offices, and they have had decided to dissolve, registry officials said. “Credit crunch is one reason why they couldn’t start,” the registrar said.

However, Karma Yeshey said all four companies would have time till January 27 next year.  By that time, they will have to come and prove their companies are not defunct, and, failing to do so, the companies will be “declared dissolved and defunct.”

“Companies have to pay the penalty for not reporting in the last three years, and come up with the last two years’ annual reports, which will have them restored in the registrar book,” registry officials said.

The companies, if delisted, cannot function as a limited liability company, and will have to return the certificate of article of incorporation, and the company seal.

Meanwhile, the registrar said these companies could function as a “sole proprietorship company” after acquiring new licenses.

Also, even when these companies get struck off, Karma Yeshey explained that any liabilities in the name registered will still continue with the directors and the shareholders of the company.

This means that they will have to repay the liabilities they have taken in the name of the company.

By Rajesh Rai

Tsakling people remind speaker of his promise to them

meeting-at-TsakalingTshengkhar: A villager tells his representative connecting the bypass was not difficult since most villages were already connected by farm roads

A bypass that connects Lhuentse and Mongar through the community is what they wish for  

Meet: In his recent constituency visit, Speaker Jigme Zangpo was received by Tshengkhar villagers in Mongar with a reminder of the pledge he made them during the recent election.

The villagers of the community said they wanted the government to complete the bypass between Gorbangtang in Mongar and Tshengkhar in Lhuentse left unfinished for the last five years.

Today, about 18km of the bypass road has been completed from Changshingpek in Mongar until Chali Goenpa.

Thereon, people of Chali connected a 5km road from the bypass to their farm road

From Autsho in Lhuentse, another 15km bypass was cleared until Gungbrang.

Tshengkhar villagers informed the speaker all that was required was for the two roads to be joined.

“It should not be difficult because villages in between have been connected with farm roads already,” one Tshengkhar villager said. “Besides if the bypass goes through our villages, it will open our communities to more development activities and better opportunities.”

Some villagers also said they would not be cut off from the rest of the country especially during the monsoon when massive landslides every year closed Lhuentse and parts of Mongar at Rothpashong.

Apart from Rothpashong, Tsakaling villagers said the bypass would avert the Dorji Lung slide, about 25km from Mongar towards Lhuentse.

Farmer Jigme Wangchuk said the road was an important gateway to unprecedented development activities for the many communities between where the bypass from either side has been stalled.

“If there is road from our village, we won’t have to travel the present Lhuntse-Mongar highway which is a long drive,” he said.

Tsakaling gup Karma Sonam Wangchuk said a survey should be conducted so as not to affect the watershed areas and keep water sources protected.

In response to the villagers’ request, Tshogpon Jigme Zangpo admitted he had pledged them the connection of the bypass if people elected him as their representative at the Parliament.

“During my campaign, I said the bypass will be connected to benefit the people and I will make sure it comes through,” he said.

Jigme Zangpo said he had discussed this with works and human settlement minister and also with Agriculture Minister Yeshi Dorji recently.

Dechen Tshering, Mongar

Violence against women

Home is supposed to be where people feel secure.

But this is not necessarily so for many women, not just in the rural areas but even in urban towns of the country.

This is what a recent study on violence against women in the country found.

Home, in that case, is a place women should be wary about being in as much as they fell so about being outside.

What does it tell of a society that is seen and often raved about by international community as a haven for women?

How we are seen, therefore, depends on the societies and cultures we compare ourselves with.

Even if Bhutanese women enjoy far better stature than do those in other societies, it does not in any way give us the moral authority to inflict even the minutest of the wrongs women in other societies suffer.

Such outlook would be to the degeneration of a culture, civilization and humankind.

In fact, what we should strive towards is to take stock of the good Bhutanese women in general enjoy today in our society and ensure that they be given far better respect and space to function in.

Relevant agencies have been instituted for victims of violence in the country to lodge their complaints, alas, the number of visits to these agencies only goes to reinforce our deepest fears that there is no improvement whatsoever in how we treat women.

Forensic division of the national referral hospital is recording increasing instances of violence against women as does those of agencies that deal with the issue.

What is recorded does not, however, capture the gravity of the issue.

Violence against women, including sexual harassment can be too subtle to detect although they happen regularly at home, on streets and in workplaces.

We are still a culture, where although women are aware of such violence, they often choose to ignore it for reasons only they know.

One of the solutions it is believed would be for women to gain financial independence for which education is crucial.

What the report also stated was that many women who were educated, even if it was a basic non-formal education often were able to handle better, cases of violence against them.

What our agencies that deal with women and violence against them ought to do is not just educate women on the issue but also involve men some times.

Education and authorities can only do so much towards responding to this social ill effectively.

What is required is a cultural change and change in mindset among the people and a shift in how the government deals with gender-based crimes will go a long way in overcoming discriminatory mindsets and behaviours.

Three detainees confess to murder

Update: The three men detained by Thimphu police in connection with the murder of an Indian national on November 7 have confessed to the crime, Kuensel has learnt.

According to sources, the suspects had robbed about Nu 8,500 and a mobile phone from the deceased after he was stabbed on the right thigh.  He died due to excessive bleeding, as his arteries were injured.

This is the first reported murder this year, said police.

The deceased was a chief engineer of Power Grid corporation of India ltd.  The Delhi-based company was helping Bhutan Power corporation in the transmission of power from Punatshangchu project II to Jigmeling.

The deceased, 48, arrived in the country from New Delhi for a two-day meeting on November 6, along with two officials. Preliminary police investigation report indicated that the three had dinner together and returned to their hotel in town.  The deceased had gone out again, alone.

The three suspects met the Indian engineer at a bar in town, after which they went to a drayang in Olakha, said sources.  A fight broke out between the men because of a woman in the drayang.  Once they were out of the drayang, the Indian was stabbed and robbed at Changjalu.

The body was found by joggers early the next morning near a construction site at Changjalu on November 7, and the police was informed.

The first suspect was caught at Olakha, after police confirmed his identity from a drayang around 4pm.  The other two were arrested from Kharbandhi around 9pm on the same day.  They were brought to Thimphu police station the next day.

The first suspect claimed it wasn’t him, but the two friends, who had stabbed the deceased, before fleeing to Phuentsholing.  Phuentsholing police then sent two teams to check all vehicles plying the Gedu-Phuentsholing highway.  The two suspects travelled in different vehicles.

Police found about Nu 350 on the deceased and the hotel room key.  Police then went to the hotel from where they could identity the deceased.

By Kinga Dema

Separate fund to refund hydropower debts

The fund, WB report recommends, should only cater to hydropower debt repayment

WB: A recent World Bank report recommends the creation of a savings stabilisation fund to reduce risks related to hydropower debt repayment.

The fund, if it is created, would only cater to hydropower debt repayment.

The report stated the fund must be managed prudently to ensure there is sufficient money in the fund to make timely repayments.

Although, investments made in the hydropower sector through loans and grants is expected to earn a sufficient return in the future, to repay loans and secure a profit, the report on the country’s growth performance, sees the economy under a “high risk of debt distress”.

The report says that public debt management would become crucial because hydro-related debt kept accumulating and given the time inconsistency between debt repayment and revenue generation.

“This calls for a close and careful cash flow and reserve management,” the report stated.

Repayments became a cause of worry because although revenues from sale of hydropower came home on a monthly basis, the economy was required to make repayments at the end of the year.

While the existing hydropower projects are all run-of-the-river, it meant its earnings dropped during the winter months, at the time of repayment.

Last year, increasing consumption levels in the economy put pressure on Rupee reserve, at the same time, the economy had to make its annual debt repayment on Tala hydropower project.

In absence of Rupee reserves and borrowing limits on Rupee having exhausted, the central bank resorted to selling USD 200M from its convertible currency reserves to make the repayment.

Hydropower related debt constitute more than 70 percent of the total debt, this has so far been tagged “self liquidating”.

Today, on an average, the hydropower sector earns a gross annual revenue of Rs 10B, out of which Rs 3B is paid for the loans taken to build them.

Of the remaining Rs 7B, the country imports fuel worth more than Nu 5B a year and whatever remains in the end is used to meet other Rupee related imports.

Risks related to hydropower loan repayment is also expected to increase with bigger hydropower projects being built today.

Besides, the upcoming hydropower projects are built more on loans than grants unlike Chhukha hydropower project that was built on 40 percent loan and 60 percent grant the Indian government provided.

Recent hydropower projects like Punatsangchhu-I  was built on 60 percent loan and 40 percent grant and Punatsangchhu- II on 70 percent loan and 30 percent grant.

Power officials said the interest rates were also more than double that of Chhukha’s.

Going by the estimate a private consulting firm made, the country would roughly earn a gross revenue of Rs 45B by 2018.

This is taking account of total generation by each project and a unit price of generation.

Various inputs, such as depreciation, interest repayment, operation and maintenance cost and return on equity is also accounted for.

But the projects will also be required to make annual repayments worth Rs 23B, which means the economy would be left with a net revenue of Rs 22B.

By Nidup Gyeltshen 

Singing a different tune

IMG_3932Remnants of a yak near Tshophu

Highlanders are gradually having a change of heart about the predator snow leopard

Wildlife: Every year, yak herders in Soe lose a few calves to what they call the gangdzee, the elusive snow leopard.

Herders had been criticising government’s policy of protecting the cat, while they claim they were not compensated for the loss.  However, their attitude towards the policy is changing.  And the blue sheep, which is also a prey for snow leopard, is one of the main reasons.

Herders said that blue sheep, which roam in hundreds, are competing with yaks for grazing land and that, if the population of the sheep is not controlled, their livelihood would suffer.  Top on the food chain in the high mountains, the snow leopard, herders said, could keep a check on the sheep population.

Sounding like a conservationist, Tshering Dorji, 44 from Soe Jumphu said, initially, they thought it would be better if all snow leopards were killed. “But now I’ve realised their importance in the ecosystem,” he said.  Another villager said, until officials of Jigme Dorji National park explained about the ecosystem and food chain, they were wondering why officials were on the side of the wild.

Tshering said, if snow leopards were not there, the number of blue sheep would increase, posing more grazing land competition to their yaks. “Since snow leopard conservation program was initiated for Soe Yuetoe in Thimphu and Soe Yaksa in Paro in 2012, we’ve started responding to the snow leopards positively,” he said.

Another villager said blue sheep have been a problem for them when it comes to grazing lands.  It is the snow leopard that controls the blue sheep population and we must conserve them.

Villagers said conserving snow leopards would also bring more tourists and benefit the locals through the hire of porter and ponies.

Namgay Wangchuk, 60 from Soe Yaksa, said the leopards usually attacked yak calves below three years.  But he said there were more yaks dying of diseases, especially gid disease. “In the past years, there was grazing land shortage and now the government has solved it by providing fodder seeds,” he said.

But not all share the same view.  Tsencho Tshering, 49, from Jumbu village said snow leopards preying on yaks are still a big problem. “Sometimes, the cats killed about 12 yaks a year and about three on the average. They also preyed on young horse,” he said.

“I understand snow leopard is an endangered species, but killing a five year old calf means a loss of about Nu 15,000 to us,” he said the government never compensated them, despite repeated reports submitted.

Tsencho argued that the blue sheep never descended to yak’s grazing fields and there was not much grazing competition between them.  “How will conserving the leopard bring tourists, when we can’t see the leopard?” he said. “The horses that come with tourists are a bigger problem as they eat all the grasses.”

Soe range Jigme Dorji national park ranger, Chhimi Namgyal, said people’s attitude towards snow leopards has changed.  He said, with the funding from Bhutan Foundation, the park initiated snow leopard conservation programs in Soe in 2012.

He said Soe Yaksa snow leopard conservation program involves 18 households and 28 households in Soe Yuetoe snow leopard conservation program. “The conservation committee members are engaged in setting camera traps,” he said.

Pema Dorji, who is also a park ranger of the Soe range (JDNP), said gid disease killed more yaks in a year than the snow leopard.  He said the park had also initiated gid control program and awareness among the people. “The herders should control the dog population as their faeces caused gid disease.”

Bhutan Foundation’s executive director, Tshewang R Wangchuk, said the nomads always thought it was snow leopard that killed their yaks. “A little harm by the leopard is inevitable, but the disease could be prevented,” he said, adding that herders should talk to other relevant government agencies to control the disease.

By Nima Wangdi

LAP tied to ‘trap land’ resolution

IMG_5362The town is busy only on Sundays

Regularisation of encroached govt. plots for some landowners needs the approval of all

Township: Residents of Samtse town could see their old town get a facelift with groundwork for a local area plan (LAP) expected to start by the end of next month, Samtse municipal officials say.

Samtse’s town has been stagnating, with the place wearing the same look it did in the ‘90s, when it was first developed.  Apart from a few buildings, shops and vehicles, the town is usually quiet.

However, the groundwork will take place, only if landowners agree to the decision taken by the national land commission (NLC) on the “trap land” belonging to 20 plots out of the 38 in the main town of Samtse.

Trap land is a term used to describe a strip of government land, which is attached with private land and used by the landowner.

The land commission, after sorting various possibilities, decided that, of the 20 plots that make up three acres of the town’s land, seven would be granted as trap land with their private land.

A municipal official said this was decided, since it was found that a small portion of their concrete structures, have encroached onto these trap lands.

“So we had to either dismantle the structures, which means pay them compensation or grant them the land,” the official said.  “Keeping in mind their guidelines, land commission decided to transfer the trap land in their thram.”

The official, on request of anonymity, said the “land trap case” had also initially delayed the LAP, which was approved in 2008.  Following this, the municipality had approached the NLC to survey and adjust the trap land with the private land.  Most trap lands measure about 5 decimals each.

However, the official said that, to start off with the initial groundwork, they would have to first conduct a public consultation meeting on the decision before starting.

While for the remaining 13 plot owners, who had proposed for the trap land to be transferred to their private land, the official said that the land commission did not approve the proposal, as it was not feasible.

The trap land will remain with the government land and private landowners will get their original registered land only.  If agreed by the owners, then thram for seven plot owners would be updated, and new lagthram would be issued to them.

If the landowners do not agree, then the town’s LAP will be further delayed. “Otherwise, we can hand over the plots after the new lagthram is approved and they can begin construction, which is otherwise restricted right now.”

Meanwhile the official said that land in other areas, like Devithan, Damdum and Gurung Basti, which comprise 600 plots, has been approved by the land commission and handed over to the plot owners.

“We just hope all land owners will agree so that we can start our groundwork for LAP by December,” official said. “The public consultation will be held soon.”

By Yangchen C Rinzin, Samtse

An iffy 3G-frequency choice?

Service providers explain why they opted for 850MHz instead of the more ‘regional’ 900MHz 

ISP: When B-Mobile and TashiCell decided to use the 850MHz frequency for their 3G (third generation) service in Thimphu, many mobile phone users suddenly found that their devices would not be able to access the internet using 3G.

With the majority of phones sold and used in Bhutan imported from India, where the 900MHz frequency is used for 3G, questions have been raised on why the mobile service providers did not use 900MHz for 3G in Thimphu.

“900 and 2100 are the bands adopted for 3G in India, most of South East Asia, and all of Europe, the 850 band is more popular in the Americas,” explained expatriate Boaz Shmueli, an information technology lecturer. “Thus, as most 3G phones sold in Thimphu are coming from India, their 3G bands are often 900 and 2100, so they aren’t compatible with 850.”

Boaz Shmueli explained that, instead of 850MHz, the mobile service providers should have opted for 900MHz.  He pointed out that phones coming from India that do support 850MHz, in addition to 900 and 2100MHz, are much more expensive, usually starting at around Nu 20,000, while phones supporting 3G in the 900MHz frequency can be purchased for significantly cheaper, some costing even less than Nu 5,000.

As a result, those wanting to access 3G, using a mobile phone or other device in Thimphu, will have to spend more than they otherwise would have had to, according to Boaz Shmueli.

A telecommunications engineer in Bhutan, Mukul Dixit, who has attempted to find the cheapest phone in the Indian market that supports 850MHz for 3G, said that prices start at Nu 22,000, exclusive of taxes.

In response to the issue, B-Mobile general manager Pushpa M Pradhan said that, as their GSM service or 2G is already on the 900MHz frequency, a different frequency had to be used for 3G.

However, Mukul Dixit pointed out that B-Mobile is using 900MHz for 3G in some towns outside Thimphu, such as in Phuentsholing and Paro.

“Initially, we went with 2100MHz frequency for 3G, but the coverage was very poor,” said Pushpa M Pradhan. “That’s why we changed to 850MHz, as this band provides better coverage.”

B-Mobile switched from 2100 to 850MHz late last year.

Even then, some customers cried foul, specifically those using the B-Mobile data card.  Many had to upgrade their data cards to access 3G on the new frequency, and even share the cost of the upgrade, which they felt should have been solely borne by B-Mobile.

TashiCell general manager for network operations, Ganga R Dhungyel, also reiterated that the 850Mhz frequency was chosen as 900MHz was already being used.  TashiCell introduced 3G this year.

He added that using 900MHz for 3G would have entailed a lot of “re-engineering and radio planning for existing operators”, and that 850MHz made more sense as the frequency or spectrum was available. “Countries that use 900 MHz band do so, not because they like it, but because they’re running short of spectrum.”

Ganga R Dhungyel also pointed out that 3G users are typically high-end smart phone users, and most high-end phones are quad band, meaning support of four bands, including 850MHz. “So device, at least for the 3G target group, isn’t an issue,” he said. “For those who’d like to use 3G services as power users, USB dongle/data cards are available from the operators.”

He pointed out that, “phones supporting 850MHz services are available at same costs, but since most of the phones that we get in Bhutan are from the Indian market, these variants may not support it, as India uses 900MHz for 3G.” He added: “But the business people should have checked for this issue before buying their stock.”

Ganga R Dhungyel pointed out that there is no possibility of 3G being switched to 900MHz in Thimphu. “Changing to 900 MHz is definitely not there, since it entails change of equipment and infrastructure and defeats the purpose for us using the band in the first place.”

Change of frequency has to be approved by the Bhutan infocomm and media authority (BICMA).  Its media officer, Lakshuman Chettri, said that its Act provides for a modern technology-neutral and service sector-neutral regulatory mechanism, and that the authority is “not there to dictate on the selection of technology.” He added, “It is the business choice of the service provider to decide in which frequency band they’d launched their services.”

On whether BICMA may reconsider 3G frequency, Lakshuman Chettri said that service providers should make that choice, based on their business strategy. “This authority doesn’t have problems in the allocation of frequency band as we’re in the most favourable situation.”

However, both Boaz Shmueli and Mukul Dixit questioned why a regulatory authority cannot regulate an operator.  Mukul Dixit pointed out that the issue has affected several mobile phone users.

Meanwhile, some remain unaware of the situation. “Why 3G doesn’t work for Samsung galaxy grand duos in Thimphu, while it works in other dzongkhags,” asked one user on the Bhutan Telecom Facebook page. “I wish the Bhutan Telecom makes it work so that we can enjoy using 3G/4G from our mobile.” A new Samsung galaxy grand duo in India costs at least around Nu 16,000.

By Gyalsten K Dorji

Kid’s athletic event marks occasion

IMG_6157Students with medals and certificates after the event

Celebration: As a tribute to the birth anniversary of the fourth Druk Gyalpo, more than a hundred students from six dzongkhags gathered at the synthetic track in the capital yesterday for the kid’s athletic event.

The students, between 11 to 12 years, competed in javelin, sprint hurdle, squat jump, speed ladder, overhead throw and endurance run.

Wearing a yellow jersey from Gopini community primary school (CPS) in Tsirang, Wangchuk, 12, a class six student, was among the participants for the endurance run.

“It’s sad that I couldn’t come first for my school, but I’m happy that I met many new friends,” he said.

Visiting the capital for the first time, Wangchuk said he likes Thimphu, but misses his parents back home. “The event was fun but I can’t wait to go home,” he said.

A student from Zungney CPS in Bumthang, Phub Dem, 12, also participated in the endurance run, like Wangchuk. “I like running because it’s easy,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to be here in Thimphu and participate in the event.”

General secretary of Bhutan Amateur Athletics Federation, Dorji Tenzin, said, it was an annual event organised by the federation.

“With the launch of the athletic at school project recently, we’re hoping to take the project further and impart various skills in students through events like this” he said.

Ten students each from schools in Paro, Thimphu, Wangduephodrang, Punakha, Tsirang and Bumthang were selected to participate in the event.

The first position was awarded to Khuruthang primary school in Punakha with a trophy, gold medals and certificate each, followed by Zilnon Namgyeling primary school in Thimphu with silver medals and certificates.  The third position was awarded to Changbangdu primary school in Thimphu, which took bronze medals and certificates.

“It’s a great place for students to get to know each other and have a different experience,” Dorji Tenzin said.

By Thinley Zangmo

Picture story

The team of six boys bagged the winner’s trophy of Tsirang’s two-day Khuru open tournament that was held on November 10 and 11 to commemorate the birth anniversary of His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo. The winners were awarded a nine inches tall statue of Zhabdrung each. A total of 17 teams from Tsirang and Dagana dzongkhags took part in the Yangphel style tournament.