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Bhutan's Daily Newspaper
Updated: 22 min 10 sec ago

ཕོངས་མེད་རྒཔོ་ལུ་ འཁྲིག་སྤྱོད་དང་འབྲེལ་བའི་གནད་དོན་ལུ་བརྟེན་ བཙོན་ཁྲིམས།

Sun, 05/12/2024 - 18:43

༉ བཀྲིས་སྒང་རྫོང་ཁག་ཁྲིམས་འདུན་གྱིས་ སྤྱི་ཟླ་༥ པའི་༩ ལུ་ སྐྱེས་ལོ་༤༠ ལང་མི་ ཕོངས་མེད་རྒཔོ་རྣམ་རྒྱལ་དབང་འདུས་ལུ་ བྱིས་པ་སྐྱེས་ལོ་༡༢ ཡན་ཆད་ལུ་ འཁྲིག་སྤྱོད་དང་ ཨ་ལོ་བཟོ་བྱིན་མི་ལུ་བརྟེན་ བཙོན་ཁྲིམས་ལོ་༡༡ བཀལ་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

རྣམ་རྒྱལ་དབང་འདུས་ཀྱིས་ བཙོན་ཁྲིམས་ལོ་༡༠ དང་ཟླཝ་༩ ཉིན་གྲངས་༨ བཙོན་ཁྲིམས་འབག་དགོ་ནི་ཨིནམ་ད་ དེ་ཡང་ ཁོ་ར་ བཀྲིས་སྒང་ རྒྱལ་གཞུང་འབྲུག་གི་འགག་སྡེའི་ དོ་དམ་འོག་ལུ་ བཙོན་ཁྲིམས་ཟླཝ་༢ དང་ ཉིན་གྲངས་༢༢ འབག་ནི་དེ་གིས་ཨིན་པས།

རྩོད་ཟླ་རྣམ་རྒྱས་དབང་འདུས་ཀྱིས་ ཉམས་རྒུད་པའི་གཟུགས་ཁར་ ཨ་ལོ་ཆགས་ཏེ་ གནོད་འཚེ་དང་ ཉམས་བཅུག་པའི་རྒྱུ་རྐྱེན་ཡོདཔ་ལས་ ཉེས་འགེལ་ཁྲིམས་དེབ་ཀྱི་ དོན་ཚན་༣༦ དང་༣༩ པའི་༥ པ་དང་འཁྲིལ་ གྱོང་འཐུས་དངུལ་ཀྲམ་༢༢༥,༠༠༠ ཟླཝ་༡ གི་ནང་འཁོད་ སྤྲོད་དགོ་ཟེར་ འཁྲུན་ཆོད་ནང་བཀོད་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

འཁྲུན་ཆོད་དང་འཁྲིལ་བ་ཅིན་ ཁོང་༢ མི་སྡེ་བརྡ་བརྒྱུད་ ཕེསི་བུག་དང་ ཝི་ཅེཌ་ཐོག་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༢༢ ལས་ཕྱད་དེ་ ངོས་ཤེས་འདྲིས་ཤེས་བྱུང་ནུག་ཟེར་ཨིནམ་ད་ ཉམས་རྒུདཔ་དང་གཅིག་ཁར་ འཕྱད་གེ་ཟེར་སླབ་སྟེ་ ཕྱད་པའི་ཤུལ་ལུ་ འཁྲིག་སྤྱོད་འབད་ནུག་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

ཤུལ་ལས་འབད་རུང་ མི་སྡེ་བརྡ་བརྒྱུད་ནང་ཕྱད་དེ་ འཁྲིག་སྤྱོད་འབད་ཡོདཔ་མ་ཚད་ འཁྲིག་སྤྱོད་འབད་ཡོད་པའི་སྐོར་ལས་ གཞན་ལུ་མ་སླབ་ཟེར་ རྩོད་ཟླ་གིས་ སླབ་ནུག་ཟེར་ཨིནམ་ད་ འཁྲིག་སྤྱོད་འབད་བའི་དུས་ཚོད་ནང་ ཉམས་རྒུདཔ་དེ་ སྐྱེས་ལོ་༡༤ ལས་བརྒལ་ མ་ལང་པས་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

རྒཔོ་གིས་ འབྲུག་གི་ཉེས་འགེལ་ཁྲིམས་དེབ་འཕྲི་སྣོན་བཅའ་ཁྲིམས་༢༠༡༡ ཅན་མའི་ དོན་ཚན་༡༨༣ ལས་བརྒལ་ཡོདཔ་ད་ བྱིས་པ་སྐྱེས་ལོ་༡༢ ཡན་ཆད་འབད་མི་ལུ་ འཁྲིག་སྤྱོད་འབད་བ་ཅིན་ བཙོན་ཁྲིམས་མཐོ་ཤོས་ལོ་༩ ལས་ ལོ་༡༥ ཕོག་ཟེར་ བཀོད་དེ་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

ཉམས་རྒུདཔ་གིས་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༢༣ ཟླ་༡༡ པའི་ཚེས་༠༨ ལུ་ བཀྲིས་སྒང་སྨན་ཁང་ནང་ གསོ་བའི་བརྟག་དཔྱད་འབད་བའི་སྐབས་ ཨ་ལོ་ཆགས་ཏེ་ ཟླཝ་༣ ལང་ཡོད་པའི་ ཤེས་རྟོགས་བྱུང་ལྟེ་ རྣམ་རྒྱལ་དབང་འདུས་ལུ་ སླབ་ད་ ཁོ་གིས་ ཁས་ལེན་འབད་མ་བཏུབ་ཨིན་པས།

རྩོད་ཟླ་གིས་ ཉམས་རྒུདཔ་དེ་ ཨ་ལོ་ཆགས་པའི་ ཤེས་རྟོགས་བྱུང་བའི་ཤུལ་ལུ་ ཨ་ལོའི་ཨ་པ་ ཁོ་མེན་པར་ རྣམ་རྒྱལ་ཚེ་དབང་ཨིན་ཟེར་ སླབ་དགོ་པའི་སྐོར་ལས་ སླབ་ནུག་ཟེར་ཨིནམ་ད་ རྣམ་རྒྱལ་ཚེ་དབང་མེན་ཟེར་སླབ་ད་ ཉན་མ་བཏུབ་རུང་ ཁ་ཉེས་བཀལ་ནུག་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

ཉེས་འཛུགས་ཅན་ རྒཔོ་གིས་ ཁ་ཉེས་བཀལ་ཏེ་ ཉམས་རྒུདཔ་དང་ རྣམ་རྒྱལ་ཚེ་དབང་ཁོང་༢ ན་ཧིང་སྤྱི་ཟླ༡༡ པའི་ཚེས་༡༡ ལུ་ གཉེན་བསྡོམས་བྱིན་ནུག་ཟེར་ཨིནམ་ད་ ཁོང་༢ གཅིག་ཁར་སྡོད་དེ་ ཟླཝ་༡ ལྷག་ཙམ་སོང་བའི་ཤུལ་ལུ་ རྣམ་རྒྱལ་ཚེ་དབང་གིས་ ཨ་ལོའི་ཨ་པ་ ག་ཨིན་ན་ དྲི་དཔྱད་འབདཝ་ད་ ཉམས་རྒུདཔ་གིས་ རྣམ་རྒྱལ་དབང་འདུས་ཨིན་ཟེར་ སླབ་ལས་ ཁོ་གིས་ འབྲེལ་བ་མ་འཐབ་པས་ཟེརཨིན་པས།

དེའི་ཤུལ་ལུ་ ཉམས་རྒུད་པའི་ཕམ་གིས་ རྣམ་རྒྱལ་དབང་འདུས་འབད་སར་སོང་སྟེ་ འདྲི་བའི་སྐབས་ ཨ་ལོའི་ཨ་པ་ ཁོ་ཨིནམ་སྦེ་ ངོས་ལེན་འབད་ནུག་ཟེར་ཨིནམ་ད་ ཨ་ལོའི་མི་རྩིས་དང་ དཀའ་ངལ་ག་ཅི་འབྱུང་རུང་ ཁོ་གིས་ བལྟ་འོང་ཟེར་ སླབ་ཡོདཔ་མ་ཚད་ ནང་འགྲིགས་འབད་དེ་ ཕོཝ་ནང་གི་ ཨ་ལོའི་དོན་ལུ་ དངུལ་ཀྲམ་༣༠༠,༠༠༠ སྤྲོད་ལེན་འབད་ནུག་ཟེར་ འཁྲུན་ཆོད་ནང་བཀོད་ནུག།

ཉམས་རྒུད་པའི་གཟུགས་ཁར་ཆགས་མི་ ཨ་ལོའི་དོན་ལུ་ དངུལ་ཀྲམ་༣༠༠,༠༠༠ སྤྲོད་མི་དེ་ ཉེས་ཅན་དང་འབྲེལ་བའི་ རྒྱུ་དངོས་ནང་ ཚུད་དོ་ཡོདཔ་ལས་ འབྲུག་གི་ཉེས་འགེལ་ཁྲིམས་དེབ་དོན་ཚན་༤༦ དང་འཁྲིལ་ བདུན་ཕྲག་༡ གི་ནང་འཁོད་ གཞུང་རྩིས་སྦེ་ བཙུགས་དགོ་ཟེར་ འཁྲུན་ཆོད་ནང་ བཀོད་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

ཁྲིམས་འདུན་གྱིས་ ཨ་ལོའི་གསོ་འཐུས་ཀྱི་ ཐོབ་ལམ་ཐད་ཁར་ ཨ་ལོ་སྐྱེས་ཚར་ཞིནམ་ལས་ རྩོད་གཞི་ལོགས་སུ་བཙུགས་དགོཔ་སྦེ་ བཀའ་གནང་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

ཉམས་རྒུདཔ་ལུ་ འཁྲིག་སྤྱོད་འབད་དེ་ ཨ་ལོ་ཆགས་པའི་མཐའ་མར་ རྩོད་ཟླ་རྣམ་རྒྱལ་དབང་འདུས་དང་ དགོན་པའི་མཁན་པོ་ རྣམ་རྒྱལ་ཚེ་དབང་གི་ཕམ་ དེ་ལས་ ཉམས་རྒུད་པའི་ཕམ་ཚུ་ འཛོམས་ཐོག་ལས་ གཉེན་བསྡོམས་བཅུག་མི་དེ་ བཙན་གཡེམ་གྱི་གནོད་འགེལ་ནང་ གྲལ་གཏོགས་ཡོདཔ་སྦེ་ཨིན་པས།

ཨིན་རུང་ རྩོད་དཔོན་ཡོངས་ཁྱབ་ཀྱིས་ བཙན་གཡེམ་གྱི་གནོད་འགེལ་ནང་ གྲལ་གཏོགས་འབད་མི་ གཞན་ཡང་ཡོདཔ་སྦེ་ ཤེས་རྟོགས་བྱུང་ཡོད་རུང་ རྩོད་ཟླ་ལུ་མ་གཏོགས་ གཞན་མི་ཚུ་ལུ་ ཉེས་འཛུགས་འབད་དེ་མེདཔ་ལས་ ཁྲིམས་འདུན་ལས་ ཉེས་ཁྲིམས་སྨིན་ཐབས་མིན་འདུག་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

ད་ལས་ཕར་ རྩོད་དཔོན་ཡོངས་ཁྱབ་ཀྱིས་ འབྲུག་གི་ ཞི་རྩོད་དང་ཉེས་རྩོད་བྱ་བའི་གནད་སྤྱོད་ཀྱི་ཁྲིམས་དེབ་ དོན་ཚན་༡༨༧ དང་འཁྲིལ་ ཉེས་ལས་དང་འབྲེལ་བའི་ ཉེས་འཛུགས་འབད་དེ་ ཁྲིམས་འདུན་ལུ་ བཀལ་དགོ་ཟེར་ བཀའ་གནང་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

ཁྲིམས་འདུན་གྱིས་བཏོན་མི་ འཁྲུན་ཆོད་ལུ་ ཡིད་ཆེས་འབྱུང་མ་ཚུགས་པ་ཅིན་ འབྲུག་གི་ ཞི་རྩོད་དང་ཉེས་རྩོད་ བྱ་བའི་གནད་སྤྱོད་ཀྱི་ཁྲིམས་དེབ་ དོན་ཚན་༩༦.༥ དང་ དོན་ཚན་༡༠༩.༡ པའི་ ག་དང་འཁྲིལ་ཏེ་ ཞག་གྲངས་༡༠ གྱི་ནང་འཁོད་ ཁྲིམས་ཁང་གོང་མ་ལུ་ མཐོ་གཏུགས་འབད་ཆོག་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

ཤེས་རྟོགས་བྱུང་མའི་ནང་ ཉམས་རྒུདཔ་ལུ་ བསླབ་སྟོན་བྱིན་ཡོདཔ་མ་ཚད་ མོ་ར་ ཨ་ལོ་སྐྱེ་རན་ཡོདཔ་བཞིན་དུ་ འཕྲོད་བསྟེན་ལེགས་ཤོམ་ཡོད་པའི་གནས་ཚུལ།

གནས་བརྟན་རྡོ་རྗེ། བཀྲིས་སྒང་།

སྟང་རྒེད་འོག་ནང་ གསོ་བའི་ལས་བྱེདཔ་ ཐེབས་དགོ་པའི་ ཞུ་བ་འབད་དོ་ཡོདཔ།

Sun, 05/12/2024 - 18:41

༉ ད་རེས་ འཕྲལ་ཁམས་ཅིག་ཁར་ སྟང་གསོ་བའི་སྨན་ཁང་ལྟེ་བའི་ སྨན་གཡོགམོ་དེ་གིས་ དགོངས་ཞུ་འབད་བའི་ཤུལ་ལུ་ སྨན་ཁང་ནང་ གསོ་བའི་ལས་རོགསཔོ་ ཁོ་ར་རྐྱངམ་གཅིག་གིས་ ནདཔ་ག་ར་ལུ་ ཞབས་ཏོག་ཚུ་ བྱིན་དོ་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

སྟང་གཡུས་ཚན་གྱི་ མི་སེར་ཚུ་ སྨན་ཁང་ནང་ སྨན་གཡོགམོ་མེད་མི་ལུ་བརྟེན་ སྨན་བཅོས་ཀྱི་ ཞབས་ཏོག་ལེན་པའི་སྐབས་ལུ་ གསོ་བའི་ལས་རོགསཔ་ཕོ་སྐྱེས་ལས་ ཞབས་ཏོག་ལེན་ནི་དེ་ བྱ་སྟབས་མ་བདེཝ་ཡོདཔ་སྦེ་ཨིན་པས།

གསོ་བའི་སྨན་ཁང་ལྟེ་བའི་ནང་ལས་ ནདཔ་ཚུ་ལུ་ ཞབས་ཏོག་ཚུ་ སྨན་ཁང་ནང་སྡོད་མི་དང་ ཕྱི་ཁར་སྡོད་མི་ག་ར་ལུ་ མ་བཏུབ་བཏུབ་སྦེ་བྱིནམ་ད་ ནདཔ་ལྟ་རྟོག་ ཨའི་དང་ཨ་ལོ་ རྫས་དཔྱད་ཁང་ ཨ་ལོ་སྐྱེས་ས་ གློ་བུར་སྡེ་ཕྲན་ དེ་ལས་ རང་ལུགས་ནང་པའི་སྨན་ཁང་གི་ ཞབས་ཏོག་ཚུ་ སྤྲོད་དོ་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

གསོ་བའི་ལས་རོགསཔ་ བཀྲིས་དོན་གྲུབ་ཀྱིས་ བཤད་མིའི་ནང་ ཉིན་བསྟར་བཞིན་དུ་ ནདཔ་༢༠ དེ་རེ་གིས་ སྨན་ཁང་ནང་ལས་ ཞབས་ཏོག་ལེན་པར་འོང་དོ་ཡོདཔ་ད་ ལྟེ་བ་དེ་གིས་ རང་ལུགས་ཀྱི་ ནང་པའི་སྨན་དང་བཅས་པའི་སྒོ་ལས་ སྨན་ཆུ་སྦང་ནིའི་ཞབས་ཏོག་ཚུ་ བྱིན་དོ་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

བཀྲིས་དོན་གྲུབ་ཀྱིས་ འབད་བ་ཅིན་ སྤྱིར་བཏང་ལུ་ གནམ་གཤིས་དང་བསྟུན་པའི་ནད་གཞི་དང་ ཚ་རིམས་ནད་ པགས་ནད་ མིག་ནད་ལ་སོགས་པ་ཚུ་ མང་ཤོས་ར་ སློབ་ཕྲུག་ཨ་ལོ་ཚུ་ལུ་ ཐོབ་སྟེ་འོངམ་མས་ཟེར་ཨིནམ་ད་ གཙང་སྦྲ་འཕྲོད་བསྟེན་ལུ་ གཙོ་རིམ་སྒྲིག་མི་ལུ་བརྟེན་ བཤལ་ནད་ཚུ་ ལེ་ཤ་གིས་ མར་བབས་སོང་ཡི་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

དེ་ལས་ གསོ་བའི་ཁ་ཐུག་ལས་ མི་རྒན་ཤོས་ཚུ་ལུ་ བྱ་སྟབས་བདེ་ཐབས་ལུ་དམིགས་ཏེ་ རྒེད་འོག་ཚུ་ནང་ལས་ཕར་ ལོ་བསྟར་གྱི་ ཞིབ་དཔྱད་ཚུ་ འབད་བར་འགྱོ་དོ་ཡོདཔ་ད་ ཁོ་གིས་བཤད་མིའི་ནང་ ལྟེ་བ་གིས་ ཁྱིམ་གུང་༤༠༠ ཡོད་མིའི་ནང་ ལོ་བསྟར་བཞིན་དུ་ ནདཔ་༢,༠༠༠ དེ་རེ་བལྟ་དོ་ཟེར་ཨིནམ་ད་ དེ་ཡང་ འཕྲལ་མྱུར་གྱི་ ཞབས་ཏོག་དགོ་མི་ཚུ་ཨིནམ་ལས་ ང་ར་རྐྱངམ་གཅིག་ལས་མེད་མི་གིས་ གདོང་ལེན་ཚུ་ སྦོམ་ར་ཡོད་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

ཟླ་རིམ་བཞིན་དུ་ ང་གིས་ རྒེད་འོག་གི་ ཨོ་ཨར་སི་སྨན་ཁང་༥ ལྟ་དགོ་པས་ཟེར་ཨིནམ་ད་ གལ་སྲིད་ ང་མེད་པའི་བསྒང་ལས་ ལྟེ་བའི་ནང་ལས་ འགྱོ་མི་མེདཔ་ད་ ལས་བྱེདཔ་ཧེང་སྐལ་ཡོདཔ་འདྲཝ་འབད་བ་ཅིན་ ཞབས་ཏོག་ཚུ་ ལེགས་ཤོམ་སྦེ་ བྱིན་ཚུགས་ནི་མས་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

གཡུས་མི་ཚུ་ལུ་ ལས་བྱེདཔ་ཐེབས་དགོ་པའི་ཁར་ དམིགས་བསལ་གྱི་ ནདཔ་ཨམ་སྲུ་ཚུ་ལུ་ སྨན་གཡོགམོ་དགོཔ་སྦེ་ འདུག་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

གསོ་བའི་ལམ་སྟོན་དང་ འཁྲིལཝ་འདྲཝ་འབད་བ་ཅིན་ རྒེད་འོག་གསོ་བའི་ལྟེ་བ་ནང་ གཞི་རྟེན་གསོ་བའི་ལས་བྱེདཔ་ གསོ་བའི་ལས་རོགསཔ་ སྨན་གཡོགམ་ དེ་ལས་ སྐྱེ་གཡོགམོ་ཚུ་དགོཔ་སྦེ་ འདུག་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

རྫོང་ཁག་དང་ རྒེད་འོག་ལུ་ ཡང་ལས་ཡང་དུ་ ལས་བྱེདཔ་ཐེབས་དགོཔ་སྦེ་ ཞུ་བ་འབད་དེ་འབད་རུང་ ངོས་ལེན་དེ་ཅིག་ འབྱུང་ནི་མིན་འདུག་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

ད་ལྟོའི་གནས་སྟངས་ནང་ བཟུམ་ཅིག་འབད་བ་ཅིན་ གསོ་བའི་ཞབས་ཏོག་ཅ་ཆས་ཚུ་ དེ་ཅིག་ར་ ཐབས་ཆགས་ཏེ་མེདཔ་ལས་ དགོཔ་ངེས་བདེན་དེ་ འཕྲུལ་ལས་མཁས་མཆོག་ཨིནམ་བཞིན་དུ་ མཁས་མཆོག་ཡོད་པ་ཅིན་ ལཱ་ལེགས་ཤོམ་སྦེ་ འབད་ཚུགས་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

སྟང་རྒཔོ་ ཨོ་རྒྱན་ཉི་མ་གིས་ བཤད་མིའི་ནང་ རྒེད་འོག་གི་ཁ་ཐུག་ལས་ ལོ་ལྔའི་འཆར་གཞི་༡༣ པའི་ནང་ ལྟེ་བ་ལུ་ དགོས་མཁོ་ཡོད་པའི་ མཐུན་རྐྱེན་གྱི་ རྒྱབ་སྐྱོང་འབད་ནི་ཨིན་ཟེར་ཨིནམ་ད་ ལས་བྱེད་ཐེབས་དགོ་པའི་ གནད་དོན་དེ་ རྫོང་ཁག་དང་ འཁྲིལ་དགོ་ཟེར་ བཀོད་མི་དེ་ཡང་ མི་སྟོབས་ཀྱི་ཐད་ལུ་ལྷོདཔ་ད་ རྫོང་ཁག་གིས་ འཛིན་སྐྱོང་འབད་དགོཔ་སྦེ་ ཡོད་ཟེར་ཨིན་པས།

གཞུང་གི་ ཁས་བླངས་ནང་ དྲུང་འཚོ་རེ་དང་ དགོས་མཁོ་ཅན་གྱི་ གསོ་བའི་ལས་བྱེདཔ་ ཨམ་སྲུའི་གསོ་བའི་ལས་བྱེདཔ་ཚུ་ རྒེད་འོག་གནས་རིམ་ནང་ བྱིན་ནི་སྦེ་ཡོད་ཟེར་ཨིནམ་ད་ གཞུང་གིས་ཡང་ འབྲུག་པའི་མི་སེར་ཚུ་ལུ་ ལོ་བསྟར་གྱི་ གསོ་བའི་བརྟག་དཔྱད་དང་འབྲེལ་ ཁྲག་གི་བརྟག་ཞིབ་ ཨིན་ཌོས་ཀོ་པི་ དེ་ལས་ ཁོང་ནད་བརྟག་དཔྱད་ལ་སོགས་པ་ཚུ་ འབད་ནི་ཨིན་ཟེར་ ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པའི་གནས་ཚུལ། ཚེ་རིང་དབང་འདུས།

ངོ་ཚབ་ཚུ་གིས་ ལྟ་བཤལ་པའི་གནད་དོན་ནང་ ལེགས་པའི་ཆ་རྐྱེན་གྱི་ ངོས་ལེན།

Sun, 05/12/2024 - 18:39

༉ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༠༤ འི་ ལོ་འགོ་བཙུགསཔ་དང་འབྲེལ་ ལས་སྡེ་ཚུ་ལུ་ ངལ་རངས་དང་ དགའ་བ་བསྐྱེད་མི་དེ་ ལྟ་བཤལཔ་དང་ དེ་དང་འབྲེལ་བའི་ཚོང་འབྲེལ་ཚུ་ ལེགས་ཤོམ་འགྱོ་དོ་ཡོད་མི་ལུ་བརྟེན་ཨིན་པའི་ཁར་ འདས་པའི་ཟླཝ་༤ གི་ནང་འཁོད་ལུ་ར་ ལྟ་བཤལ་པའི་གྱངས་ཁ་དེ་ ལོག་ལྟབ་སྦེ་ ཡར་སེང་སོང་ཡོདཔ་ད་ སྤྱི་ཟླ་༤ པའི་ནང་ལུ་ར་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༢༣ གྱི་འདས་པའི་ཟླཝ་༣ དང་ཕྱདཔ་ད་ ཧ་ལམ་འདྲ་མཉམ་མཚམས་སྦེ་ ལྷོད་པའི་འབྲས་རྟགས་བཏོནམ་མས།

ལྟ་བཤལཔ་ནང་འཁོད་ལུ་ ལྷོད་མིའི་གནད་དོན་ཚུ་ཡང་ ཁག་ལེ་ཤ་ཅིག་སྦེ་ ངོ་ཚབ་པའི་འབྲེལ་བ་ ཚོང་འབྲེལ་གྱི་ཐབས་བྱུས་ ཁེ་དབང་བྱིན་མི་ཚུ་གིས་སྦེ་ གྱངས་ཁ་དེ་ ལེ་ཤ་གིས་ ཡར་སེང་སོང་ཡོདཔ་ད་ ཚོང་འབྲེལ་ནང་སྡེ་ཚན་གྱིས་ བཤད་དོ་བཟུམ་འབད་བ་ཅིན་ ལྟ་བཤལཔ་ཧེ་མའི་ ཡུན་བརྟན་གོང་འཕེལ་འཐུས་ཡུ་ཨེས་ཌི་༦༥ གི་ཐོག་ལུ་ བདུན་ཕྲག་གཅིག་གི་རིང་སྡོད་མི་ཚུ་ ཧ་ལམ་ལོ་ལས་བཅད་དེ་ ལུས་ནི་བཟུམ་ཡོདཔ་ད་ དུས་ཅི་གི་ ཚོང་འབྲེལ་དང་བསྟུན་འབད་བ་ཅིན་ ག་ར་སེམས་དགའ་ཡོད་མི་དེ་ ལྟ་བཤལ་ངོ་ཚབ་ཅིག་གིས་ སྤྱི་ཟླ་༤ པའི་ནང་ར་ ལྟ་བཤལཔ་༧༠ ལེན་ཚུགས་ནུག།

ལྟ་བཤལཔ་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ནང་ ལྷོད་མིའི་གྲུབ་འབྲས་དེ་ཡང་ ཡུན་བརྟན་གོང་འཕེལ་གྱི་འཐུས་ སྒྲིག་གཞི་བསྐྱར་བཟོ་འབད་མི་ལས་ ཡུ་ཨེས་ཌི་ས་ཡ་༡༣ གྱི་ འོང་འབབ་ཐོབ་ཡོདཔ་ད་ དེ་ཚུ་སྤྱིར་བཏང་ སྙན་ཞུའི་ནང་འཁོད་དེ་མེད་རུང་ གྲུབ་འབྲས་ལུ་བརྟེན་ ཤེས་ཚུགས་པའི་ཁར་ ལྟ་བཤལ་ངོ་ཚབ་ཚུ་གིས་ འབད་བ་ཅིན་ ཡུན་བརྟན་གོང་འཕེལ་འཐུས་ བརྒྱ་ཆ་༥༠ མར་ཕབ་འབད་མི་གིས་ གནས་ཐོའི་ནང་ ཡར་སེང་རྒྱ་ཆེཝ་སྦེ་ར་ སོང་ཡོདཔ་སྦེ་ཨིནམ་བཞིན་དུ་ འབྲུག་ལུ་བཟུམ་ཅིག་འབད་བ་ཅིན་ ལྟ་བཤལཔ་འོང་ནིའི་དུས་ཚོད་ཟེརཝ་མེད་པར་ ལོ་ཅིག་གི་རིང་ ལྟ་བཤལཔ་ཚུ་གིས་ རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ནང་ ལྟ་སྐོར་ལུ་ འོང་བཞིན་དུ་ར་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་མས།

ཤེས་རྟོགས་བྱུང་དོ་བཟུམ་འབད་རུང་ ལྟ་བཤལཔ་རྒྱུན་ཆད་མེད་པར་ འོང་མི་དེ་ ཁྱིམ་ཚང་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ རྒྱ་གར་ལས་ཨིནམ་ད་ དེ་ཡང་ རྒྱ་གར་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་རྐྱངམ་གཅིག་ལས་ར་ ལྟ་བཤལཔ་བརྒྱ་ཆ་༥༨ ལྷོད་མི་གིས་ ལྟ་བཤལ་པའི་གྱངས་ཁ་༡༣,༩༢༥ འདུག།

སྲིད་བྱུས་སྒྱུར་བཅོས་འབད་མི་གིས་ ཁེ་ཕན་ཚུ་བྱུང་ཡོདཔ་ད་ རྒྱ་གར་ལས་ ལྟ་བཤལཔ་འོང་མི་ཚུ་ལུ་ འབད་བ་ཅིན་ ཉིནམ་རེ་ལུ་ ཡུན་བརྟན་གོང་འཕེལ་འཐུས་དངུལ་ཀྲམ་༡,༢༠༠ རེ་དང་ སྣུམ་འཁོར་དང་ འཁོར་ལོ་གཉིས་མ་བ་ཡེག་ཚུ་ལུ་ ཉིན་བསྟར་བཞིན་དུ་ དངུལ་ཀྲམ་༤,༥༠༠ རེ་བཀལ་མི་གིས་ མང་ཤོས་ཅིག་ལུ་ སེམས་ཚོར་མ་འདྲཝ་བྱུང་ཡོད་རུང་ འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་དེ་ རྒྱ་གར་ལས་ དུམ་གྲ་ཅིག་མ་འདྲཝ་སྦེ་ སོང་ནུག།

ལྟ་བཤལ་པའི་གྱངས་ཁ་དེ་ ཡར་སེང་སོང་བཞིན་དུ་ར་ཡོདཔ་ད་ རྒྱ་གར་གྱི་ལྟ་བཤལཔ་ ལ་ལོ་ཅིག་གིས་ ཉིནམ་རེ་ལུ་ ཡུ་ཨེས་ཌི་༡,༠༠༠ རེ་སྤྲོད་དེ་ སྡོད་མི་ཡང་ཡོདཔ་སྦེ་འདུག།

སྤྱིར་བཏང་དེ་ཚུ་ག་ར་ ནད་ཡམས་མཇུག་བསྡུ་བའི་ཤུལ་ལུ་ གཞུང་གཉིས་མཉམ་འབྲེལ་ཐོག་ལས་ ལྟ་བཤལ་པའི་གནས་སྟངས་ནང་ ཡར་དྲག་བཟོ་དགོ་པའི་ གྲོས་འཆམ་བྱུང་མི་ལུ་བརྟེན་ཨིནམ་ད་ འབྲུག་པའི་ལྟ་བཤལ་ངོ་ཚབ་ཚུ་གིས་འབད་རུང་ རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ནང་ ལྟ་བཤལཔ་སྤུས་ཚད་ཅན་ཚུ་ ལེན་ནིའི་ནང་ ཁ་འཆམ་བྱུང་མི་གིས་ ལེགས་བཅོས་ཚུ་ ལེ་ཤ་ར་སོང་ཡོདཔ་སྦེ་ཨིན་མས།

ཁོང་གི་ཁ་ཐུག་ལས་འབད་རུང་ གནས་གོང་ཆེ་བ་ གྱངས་ཁ་ཉུང་བའི་ཐོག་ལུ་ ངོས་ལེན་དང་ ངལ་རངས་བསྐྱེད་མི་གིས་ ལེགས་ལམ་ལུ་ སོང་ཡོདཔ་སྦེ་འདུག།

ཡུན་བརྟན་གོང་འཕེལ་གྱི་འཐུས་ ཡར་སེང་འབད་བའི་ཤུལ་ལུ་ ལྟ་བཤལཔ་ཚུ་ གྱངས་ཁ་ཡར་སེང་སོང་ཡོད་མི་དེ་ཡང་ རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ལུ་ ཤ་ཞེན་ཅན་གྱི་ལྟ་བཤལ་པའི་ དམིགས་གཏད་བསྐྱེད་ནི་དེ་གིས་ཨིན་མས།

རྒྱ་གར་གྱི་གནས་ཚུལ་ནང་ བཀོད་དོ་བཟུམ་འབད་བ་ཅིན་ འབྲུག་དང་ མོམ་བ་ཡེ་བར་ནའི་ གནམ་གྲུ་གླར་སྤྱོད་ཚུ་ གསལ་བསྒྲགས་འབད་དོ་ཡོདཔ་ད་ ཁྱིམ་ཚང་ནང་ལས་འོང་མིའི་ ལྟ་བཤལཔ་ཚུ་ ལེགས་ཤོམ་འགྱོ་དོ་ཡོད་པའི་ བརྡ་མཚོན་བཏོན་དོ་ཡོདཔ་ལས་ ད་ལས་ཕར་ ལྟ་བཤལ་པའི་ངོ་ཚབ་དང་ ལས་སྡེ་ ལས་ཁང་ཚུ་ལུ་ ཕན་ཚུན་གྱི་ཁེ་ཕན་ཚུ་ སྦོམ་ར་འབྱུང་ནི་ཨིནམ་ལས་ ལྟ་བཤལ་པའི་སྲིད་བྱུས་ལུ་ ངོས་ལེན་ཡོད་པའི་ དྲན་ཚོར་འདུག།

Tourism boom fails to benefit service providers

Sat, 05/11/2024 - 15:31

Hoteliers worst affected as many are forced by circumstances to sell cheap

Dechen Dolkar

Despite the increase in tourist arrivals in the spring 2024 by almost twofold, the service industry, including tour operators, is struggling to reap the benefits from the increased numbers. 

The Department of Tourism recently revealed that 41,394 tourists visited Bhutan in the first quarter of 2024 compared to 26,465 in the same quarter last year, bringing in a revenue of USD 13 million. However, those in tourism and allied sectors like the hotel industry claim that the increased arrivals have not translated to improved business.

The revenue from the revised sustainable development fee goes straight to the government coffers. Tour operators compete to bring in tourists playing on the margins after paying the SDF. This has forced them to undercut to remain in business.

Tour operators said it was wrong to compare this year’s tourism arrivals with last year’s because tourists last year came under the previous SDF of USD 65. In fact, compared with 2019, this year’s tourist arrivals have decreased. In the first quarter of 2019, 83,729 tourists visited Bhutan. 

Tour operators are now blaming the government’s decision of doing away with the minimum daily package rate (MDPR) policy. With the MDPR, tourists had to come through tour operators and pay in advance. The MDPR was USD 200 to 250 per person per day. 

Doing away with the MDPR, they say, was legalising undercutting.

It was learnt that some tour operators sell packages at USD 150 to USD 180, including SDF, per person per night, depending on the group size. This means they have to adjust the cost of rooms, meals, transport, and guides from the USD 50 to USD 80 margin. Many prefer to keep guests in homestays because of the cheaper rates.

A new trick, even if it is shooting in their foot, is forgoing the daily  Nu 1,200 SDF tourists charged on Indian Tourists and building it into the lum sum amount. While this is attractive, it is adjusted from the room and meal costs. The chairman of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Bhutan (HRAB), Jigme Tshering, said this is why some hotels are forced to sell at cheaper prices. 

Star services at cheap rates?

While it is their call to undercut or sell tour packages at cheaper rates, there is a ripple effect, which is heavily borne by hoteliers. The hotel industry is dependent on tour agents for guests although they could also market on their own. Many tour agents own hotels to make up for the loss from reduced rates. Hoteliers feel the brunt of this.

Besides, the hotel industry experiences cannibalism of sorts given the sheer number of hotels that have opened in the last few years. The number of hotels increased by about 54 percent between 2019 and 2024. This excludes farmhouses.

Small hotels rely on tour operators. They would instead fill their rooms than leave them empty. The proprietor of a three-star hotel in Babesa said star-rated hotels today sell at the rates of budget hotel because of the competition. “What we sold at Nu 6,000 a day, inclusive of free breakfast, we are forced to sell at Nu 4,500 with two free meals,” she said. “Hotels with 40 to 50 rooms can make up for the number. We cannot compete with them. It is either leave the hotel empty or sell it cheap.” 

The explosion of hotels and ratings given by the authorities without monitoring the standards, she added, has affected hotels. “There were only six hotels in our area when we started operations before the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, there are 13.”

The vice-chairman of HRAB, Tshewang Jurmey, said the occupancy rate is not even 20 percent. He said some three-star and four-star hotels have lowered their prices, bringing them down to the level of one- and two-star hotels, forcing some of them to close shop.

All these, they say, could undermine the services they provide to tourists.

“Tourists do not enjoy a high-value experience in Bhutan,’ said service providers. ”To get more tourists, service providers cut their costs, which affects the services. There is no one monitoring the market.”

For instance, instead of offering five menu options, they offer only three. For transportation, instead of providing a Pardo, they provide a Creta.

Fronting in the hotel business?

A new game in the business could be termed fronting. Tour operators  claim that foreign tour operators are now dictating the local tour operators forcing them to sell tour packages at lower rates to compete for tourists.

According to service providers, although not proven with evidence, this is done through foreign tour agents allegedly running tour operations in the country.  Foreign tour operators are now recruiting Bhutanese under their payroll, including guides and drivers and applying for visas themselves, bypassing local operators.

A tour operator told Kuensel that foreign tour operators have invested in Bhutan to provide services, buying bulk hotel room bookings while some of the local tour operators have become commission agents for foreign tour operators.

Reintegrating, not isolating, youth battling substance abuse

Sat, 05/11/2024 - 15:30

Last week, the government announced plans to convert the former Kelki School in Trashigang into a “specialised school to support students who are struggling with substance use-related issues”. While the intention may be well-meaning, this strategy represents a regressive step that violates the fundamental principles and policies to protect the children in conflict with the law guaranteed by the Constitution, Childcare and Protection Act (CCPA), 2011 and the primary objectives of the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse (NDPSSA) Act of 2015 itself.

Firstly, the NDPSSA Act 2015 (amended 2018) clearly emphasizes treating substance abuse as a health issue requiring “treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration” through counselling, life skills education, and providing healthy recreational opportunities. Segregating and isolating young people grappling with substance abuse is counterproductive to the promotion of their well-being and successful social reintegration later.

 Secondly, Section 32 NDPSSA Act mandates the government ensure youth are comprehensively “informed and educated on the dangers of substance abuse” and “provided with preventive support and protection” through the empowering networks of families, educational institutions, local communities, and religious institutions. Removing these vulnerable students from their existing communities and traditional support systems fundamentally defies the law’s intent. Instead, their forced isolation in a segregated facility will only breed further stigma, and marginalization and reduce their chances for effective rehabilitation and social reintegration in future. Forced enrolment raises concerns about coercive detainment over voluntary treatment paths emphasized in Sections 40 and 47-49 of the Act.

 Thirdly, our Constitution explicitly prohibits any form of discrimination “on the grounds of race, sex, language, religion, politics or other status”. Explicitly singling out and segregating a group of students based solely on substance abuse dependency constitutes clear discrimination.

 Fourthly, the plan for a specialized substance abuse school for youth also appears to be in direct conflict with the core principles laid out in the CCPA. An isolated, segregated facility runs counter to upholding youth’s best interests and dignity. It risks violating the privacy rights of the child and their family members and deprives them of crucial family/community supports mandated by Sections 12 and 22. The separate school model also opposes the integrative rehabilitation vision through family, community, mainstream schools, vocational training, and civil society under CCPA. Section 3 of CCPA unambiguously establishes that the “best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration” for all government actions concerning children.

 Fifthly, sections 20-23 uphold crucial principles of decriminalization, protecting child dignity and privacy rights, avoiding unnecessary separation from parents, and restricting the use of force or restraints only as an absolute last resort.  Even the Penal Code recognizes children below 12 cannot be criminally liable, and youth sentencing stresses rehabilitation over punishment. From a socio-economic point of view, by keeping them mainstream schools, we could use existing school resources such as professional counsellors could provide timely interventions. Keeping students integrated allows for leveraging personnel expertise, positive peer influencers, and natural support systems. Mainstream school communities can be invaluable for prosocial engagement and accountability in rehabilitation.

 Therefore, quarantining struggling youth reflects archaic, regressive practices contrary to Bhutan’s evolving values envisioned and nurtured by our great monarchs for centuries. The government should immediately reconsider and reverse such move. Our nation’s children battling substance abuse deserve ethical, effective, and compassionate models of care and empower their recovery as mandated by law if we want to create a GNH State.

Sonam Tshering

Lawyer, Thimphu

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own.

Money flows, but businesses wait

Sat, 05/11/2024 - 15:30

Thukten Zangpo

The money supply in the economy is growing, yet businesses are experiencing sluggish growth, raising questions about where the cash is flowing and how to stimulate economic activity.

Figures from the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) shows that the money supply in the economy, M2, has grown from Nu 191.31 billion as of December 2021 to Nu 208.95 billion in December 2022, and Nu 218.92 billion in December 2023. 

M2 is a measure of the money supply in an economy that represents the most liquid forms of money readily available for spending, along with some near-liquid assets. 

This reflects the overall health of an economy: a growing M2 often indicates businesses and consumers borrow and spend more to stimulate the economy. 

At closer look, M1, which is the most readily available cash and checking account, is growing at a slower pace than M2. The RMA figures show that M1 grew by 3.1 percent to Nu 118.55 billion as of December 2023, while M2 grew by 4.8 percent.

If M2 grows faster than M1, the overall money supply is increasing, but most readily available cash (M1) is not growing as quickly. It could also mean issues with consumer confidence, bank lending practices, and distribution of new money within the economy. 

An economist, Dr Chandra Dhakal, said that even though the money supply in the economy is growing, more concerning is where that money is going. 

Looking at the country’s credit portfolio, most of the credit in the economy is in the non-enterprising sectors like commercial housing, tourism, and new special education loans. 

Out of Nu 211.58 billion total credit in the economy, about 30 percent or Nu 63.12 billion are in the housing sector, followed by 12.7 percent or Nu 26.96 billion in the hotel and tourism sector as of November last year. 

Education loans stood at Nu 16. 96 billion, while the loan for trade and commerce was at Nu 17.15 billion. 

For the agriculture and livestock that employs over 40 percent of the workforce, the credit stood at only Nu 4.26 billion. 

Despite an increase in money supply, Dr Chandra Dhakal said that the multiplier effect had gone down because of the limited consumer consumption capacity. 

The multiplier effect had been decreasing over the years, with 2.6 in the 5th Plan, which tipped to 3.4 in the 9th Plan, and dropped to 2.9 in the 12th Plan.

The multiplier effect for the 12th Plan of 2.9 means that for every additional Nu 1 the government spends, GDP is boosted by Nu 2.

Along with fewer consumers, Dr Chandra Dhakal also said that businesses were not growing because of the less conducive business environment in the country. He added that access to finance is still a bigger concern, even for businesses that can access credit, the banks ask for high collateral. 

High non-performing loans (NPL) from the past can also make banks wary of extending new credit; banks have deferred loans for over three years for various sectors. 

A banker said that trade and commerce had the highest NPL because of default in overdraft loan accounts or working capital. 

Over the years, many similar businesses came up, leading to decreased distribution in the consumers, Dr Chandra Dhakal said.

A study found that there are 26.53 grocery or general shops, 17.47 restaurants, 1.27 automobile workshops, and 1.55 garment shops per 1,000 population, indicating a high number of business establishments compared to the population.

However, the businesses are expected to pick up in the coming years. 

A banker said that the Nu 15 billion economic stimulus plan would drive the economy, including the government investments, especially in construction sectors. 

An economist said that the investment would increase with the initiation of the Nu 15 billion economic stimulus plan, 13th Plan, and the Gelephu Mindfulness City. However, he added that low government investments would lead to smaller economic activities.

According to the Asian Development Bank, private consumption is expected to grow by 4.6 percent in 2024 because of higher tourism earnings and increase in civil service salaries. Public consumption growth is anticipated to stabilise around 4 percent on expansion in recurrent expenditure. 

An economist said that total consumption, both public and private, is the key driver of the economy. It accounts for more than 70 percent of GDP. 

The finance ministry estimated total consumption to grow by 6.2 percent in 2023 from 3.1 percent in 2022 because of an increase in household income and government consumption expenditure. 

Private investment is estimated at 2.5 percent as economic activities normalise.

However, public investment, which is 12 percent of GDP, is estimated to have declined by 17.1 percent in 2023 because of lower government expenditure. 

According to the RMA, the gradual recovery of economic activities, the pent-up demand, particularly in construction and service sectors, are expected to lift the domestic credit by 21.2 percent in fiscal year 2023-24 from Nu 209.7 billion in fiscal year 2022-23. 

The growth is expected to be propelled by increased demand for investment in hotel and tourism, trade and commerce sectors, and overseas higher education loans. 

Meanwhile, banking credit to the construction sector is anticipated to remain moderate, given the continuation of the ongoing loan moratorium. 

According to the RMA, the Authority remains watchful of banking credit growth, especially in unproductive sectors. This caution is driven by the sector’s direct correlation to higher imports, posing challenges to foreign exchange reserves and exposing vulnerabilities to external factors. 

Preserving Tradition: Legacy of Bumthang Swiss Cheese

Sat, 05/11/2024 - 15:24

Yangyel Lhaden

Located in the heart of Batbalathang, Bumthang, is the Bumthang Swiss Cheese, the dzongkhag’s cherished business establishment. For five decades, this humble cheese factory has been crafting artisanal delights, including the renowned Gouda, Emmental, and soft cheeses that have won the hearts of locals and visitors alike.

Enter their welcoming home-cum-outlet, and you’ll feel the familial bond woven through their shared love for cheese making. Across generations, they’ve worked hand in hand, infusing each batch with care and expertise. As you explore the outlet, you’ll encounter not just cheese but also a curated array of local gems, each reflecting the essence of Bumthang valley and the nation.

Yet, the spotlight shines brightest on their Swiss cheese, lovingly crafted just steps away in the factory that’s been the family’s soul. Whether you’re a cheese aficionado craving the ideal slice of Emmental or a wanderer intrigued by Bumthang’s flavours, a trip to Bumthang Swiss Cheese offers more than just a culinary adventure—it’s a voyage into the cherished traditions of a humble family.

Bumthang Swiss Cheese was started in the 1980s through a partnership between Helvetas and the government

How did it all begin?

Yoezer Lhamo, the proprietor of Bumthang Swiss Cheese, recounts the origins of the enterprise. In the 1980s, the Swiss Cheese venture emerged from a collaboration between the government and Helvetas, coinciding with the inception of the Brown Swiss Cattle farm.

The Swiss cheese factory was created to process milk from Brown Swiss cattle into premium cheese products. Under the guidance of Swiss experts, locals, including Yoezer Lhamo’s husband, Sonam Dorji, learned the art of Swiss cheese making.

Sonam Dorji had the opportunity to go to the Netherlands for training to learn how to make cheese. When Bumthang Swiss Cheese was privatised in 1991, Sonam Dorji and his family took ownership. Since then, it has been a family business.

“Anyone can make local cheese and butter, but crafting Swiss cheese requires expertise,” Yoezer Lhamo explained. “Currently, we face no competition in the market for our Swiss cheese.”

Yoezer expressed gratitude for the invaluable knowledge they acquired in the art of crafting cheese, a skill intimately tied to their livelihoods.

However, their smooth business was disrupted by the sudden passing of Yoezer’s husband in 2013. Reflecting on this challenging period, Yoezer said: “We were thrown into turmoil. With young children to care for and my husband gone, the future seemed uncertain.”

Despite the adversity, Yoezer refused to succumb to despair. Determined to preserve their legacy, she began searching for former staff and experts, pleading with them to return and impart their knowledge to her sons.

Her perseverance bore fruit as her sons, despite having only completed high school, resolved to carry on the family business. Recognising the nobility of their cause, Yoezer said, “This establishment was founded with a purpose, and I will not allow it to wither away for anything in the world.”

Currently, the roles of family members in the business are as follows: Yoezer’s youngest son, Sonam Tshewang, handles cheese production; her eldest son is in charge of procuring milk, while her daughter-in-law manages the outlet. Yoezer oversees the entire establishment, and her family members receive a monthly allowance from her.

Bumthang Swiss Cheese isn’t just a family of cheese makers; their establishment has also provided livestock farmers in the community with a reliable and convenient market. Every morning, the family personally visits the farmers to pick up milk, ensuring freshness and fostering strong bonds within the community.

 “I remind my family members that this job is not burdensome; they don’t have to endure the elements or toil in the fields,” Yoezer emphasises. “Our duty is to carry on the tradition of cheese making; we are cheese makers.”

In recognition of Yoezer’s remarkable contributions, she was honoured with the Women Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2016.

BCTA to take strict actions against taxi fare violations

Sat, 05/11/2024 - 15:23

Sherab Lhamo

Taxis charge Nu 120 to 150 per passenger to go reserve locally, which is in violation according to Road Safety And Transport Regulations 2021. Now, Bhutan Construction and Transport Authority (BCTA) will take strict actions against violators with public support.

Taxi drivers found not following the revised rates will face penalties under Section 258 and fined Nu 1,000 along with refund for excess fare charged.

Passengers can request fare charts, mandatory in or with all taxis, and report overcharging to BCTA through email or call with proof.

“There is no difference in night and day charges for taxi and bus fares,” said a BCTA official.

Every six months, the Bhutan Taxi Association submit the monthly taxi costs to BCTA.

BCTA calculates the average cost from these submissions and then adjusts it equally for all regions,which is sent to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport for final approval.

The official said the review is based on the taxi fare computation model, which includes various factors like annual recurring expenses, registration and renewal, insurance premium, fitness test, driver’s salaries, overall operational costs.

These revised fares need approval from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.

Taxi and Bus fare in the country are revised every six months.

According to Chapter five, Section 263, taxi drivers must prioritise the first hirer (passenger) and may not pick up additional passengers if the taxi has been solely reserved. However, cost-sharing with additional passengers is allowed, if the hirer allows it.

Fare adjustments are made if there is a five percent or more increase or decrease from existing fares.

For example, in August, the rate of taxi fare intra-city (locally) was Nu 24.06, Nu 24.14 for February. This shows a change of less than 5 percent, so BCTA maintained the previous fare.

The taxi fare rate for this year has been revised. For intra-city travel, the fare per km for five- to six-seater taxis is Nu 24.06, for 7- to 8-seater is Nu 26.70, and for 9- to-12 seater is Nu 30.81.

For intercity travel, the rates are Nu 22.08, Nu 24.71, and Nu 28.53 respectively.

The revised taxi and bus fare can be found on the BCTA website.

Phongmey gup gets 11-year term in prison

Sat, 05/11/2024 - 15:22

Neten Dorji

Trashigang—On May 9, Trashigang’s dzongkhag court has convicted Namgyel Wangdi, a 40-year-old gup of Phongmey, for raping a minor over 12 years old and causing her pregnancy.

He has been sentenced to 11 years in prison. However, since the gup served two months and 22 days in detention at the Trashigang police station, his remaining sentence is now 10 years, nine months, and eight days.

The gup has also ordered to pay a compensation of Nu 2,25,000 to the victim within one month for “degrading and violating dignity” and “intimidation and harassment”, as per sections 36 and 39 of the Penal Code of Bhutan.

Section 36 states: “A Court may order a defendant to pay appropriate damages or reparation for any loss, injury, or deterioration caused to a victim.” 

The victim was 14 years old at the time of the incident.

The gup was found guilty of violating section 183 of the amended Penal Code of Bhutan 2011, which states: “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of rape of a child above the age of twelve years if the defendant commits any act of sexual intercourse against a child between the ages of twelve to eighteen years.”

The offence is graded a second-degree felony with a prison term ranging from nine years to 15 years.

The judgment revealed that when the victim visited the hospital on November 8, she discovered she was three months pregnant. Upon informing the gup about her pregnancy, he denied responsibility and attributed it to a man named Namgyel Tshewang.

After the gup found out about the pregnancy, he had asked Namgyel Tshewang to marry the girl on November 11 of last year.

The judgement also stated that Namgyel Tshewang later asked the victim about the child’s father around a month after they started living together.

“Upon learning that Namgyel Wangdi was the father of the child, the victim’s parents inquired about it, and he reportedly acknowledged the situation. The gup took steps to ensure the child’s welfare, address the concerns of the victim, and compensated Nu 300,000,” the judgment states.

The dzongkhag court has ordered the reimbursement of Nu 300,000 to the government account within a week, as it is related to criminal proceedings.

The court learned that the Khenpo of Goenpa and Namgyel Wangdi, parents of Namgyel Tshewang and the parents of the victim arranged the marriage, which is deemed a criminal activity.

However, the court could not convict others as the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has only filed criminal cases against the gup.

“The OAG must file related criminal cases as per Section 187 of the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code of Bhutan 2021 in the future,” the judgement states. 

The court also instructed the Office of the Attorney General to file a separate case under the Marriage Act of Bhutan to determine benefits once the baby is born.

Both parties have the option to appeal to the higher court within 10 days of the judgement.

Is Johkasou tank the future of sewage treatment?

Sat, 05/11/2024 - 15:21

Thinley Namgay

The Johkasou sewage treatment tank, a Japanese technology, is viewed by many as the potential alternative to address the growing sewage-related issues in the capital.

The thromde’s existing treatment plants are unable to cater to all locations considering the topography and the population.

Johkasou is a decentralised wastewater treatment system that treats human waste from flush toilets and domestic wastewater from kitchens, baths, and others.

As of now, the two pilot Johkasou sewage tanks installed by the Bhutan Toilet Organisation (BTO) and Thimphu Thromde in July last year at Motithang have benefited the residents.

The tanks were sponsored by JOYLET Japan, and both tanks have a carrying capacity of 1,000 litres of wastewater. Two more tanks are under construction at Mithrup Lhakhang and Ludrong park in Thimphu.

How does a Johkasou tank function?

The whole system is run by electricity.

When the wastewater comes from the home, the first compartment collects it and also blows oxygen and makes fecal matter into small pieces. 

As it flows, it will get to the next compartment where microbes will eat the fecal matter and settle down, but the liquid part will move to the third compartment where chlorine will detoxify and kill bacteria.

Then the wastewater is released into the environment. 

The Johkasou tank has different sizes. The existing tanks at BTO weigh around 100kg. 

How did the pilot project benefit, and what are the issues?

These two tanks are connected to the two households out of around 20 households at Motithang camp.

It has reduced the burden on their single common septic tank, which the residents have been facing  due to the overflow of sewage. Residents have been calling the thromde to clear it or dispose of it directly into the nearby stream.    

Tshering Dema, a beneficiary, noted the significance of this technology, stating that it would reduce the burden for the Thromde in the future. “It is also user-friendly in general.”

She said the tank brought bad odour. “It could be due to either chlorine or fecal matter. Other residents passing nearby are complaining.”

She demands a longer drain-out pipe so that water could easily reach the stream.

However, the two owners also didn’t care about the tank. During the site visit by Kuensel, there were even sanitary pads in the tanks.

None of the residents in that community have got training on Johkasou as of now. However, many residents said that BTO and the thromde should place more Johkasou in the capital.

Why Johkasou and the challenges?

BTO’s Project Manager, Tshedrup Dorji, said more than 50 percent of the residents of Thimphu today use non-sewer treatment plants.

According to Tshedrup, Johkasou tanks provide an alternative to the non-sewer users.

He said the existing septic tanks were not up to standard or were not properly built. He said the homeowners had to empty it every month, a burden for the thromde.

He said that the sewage issue was more in the towns owing to less space and more population. “Even the two-house owner can share the cost and place one larger Johkasou. It will instill a sense of responsibility.”

“In some areas, the sewer plant is located above the community and not able to facilitate because of the elevation,” he said, adding that the Johkasou tank could cost between Nu 200,000 and Nu 300,000. 

BTO’s Executive Director, Chablop Passang Tshering, said the capital’s outskirts did not have access to the  sewer plants of the thromde.

“In a space where you build a septic tank, it can accommodate two or three Johkasou tanks,” he said.

He stressed on the subsidy from the government to carry forward the Johkasou project. “For that, the government should provide Johkasou at a subsidised rate to encourage private individuals.”

Johkasou is new technology in the country

He said that the initial cost will be a bit high to purchase Johkasou, but it will be more sustainable as it requires less maintenance and clean-up. “Electricity consumption is low.”

The challenges of the Johkasou project include the lack of proper understanding of the technology by people, refusal to change for better sanitation, and a lack of a sense of responsibility.   

Popularity of Johkasou

Johkasou is popular in Japan. It has gained momentum since the 1970s. Some countries are also adopting this technology.

In the SAARC region, this technology is not popular at present. Countries in the SAARC region still struggle to have proper toilets where most of the countries venture for safely managing sanitation.

Chablop Passang Tshering said that during the FANSA network regional meeting earlier this year, SAARC countries are showing interest in Johkasou.

Sewage challenges in the capital

Chablop Passang Tshering said that different kinds of things are found in septic tanks such as hair, clothes, household items, and sanitary pads. “These things will also destroy the treatment plant.”

He said if there is fecal matter and water only, septic tank blocks won’t happen. He said some put rainwater into the septic tanks which overflow easily.

Today, even with slight rain, septic tank leakage occurs in some areas of the capital. Moreover, the waste filter net is not in most of the houses.  

He said Thimphu has no adequate area to build a good septic tank as it is getting crowded.

Some residents directly pump their wastewater to Wangchhu, which is regarded as contaminated water. There is a presence of  echola bacteria.  

Framers in the downstream of Wangchhu use it for irrigation, and health risks are there.

How thromde is addressing the sewage issue?

There are seven sewer treatment plants developed by Thromde at Dechencholing, Taba, Jungzhina, Hejo, Lungtenzampa, and Babesa. Six plants are functional.

Dechencholing plant is not working due to under capacity and worn out electro-mechanical parts.

The Thromde’s sewage section is facilitating household sewerage connection to the sewer network system.  

Thromde’s media focal, Dawa Gyeltshen, said: “The gutter water (rain and storm) is discharged to drainage, whereas the wastewater – black water (toilet) and grey water (kitchen) are being connected to the sewer network system.”

Thromde keeps advocating for the public to refrain from connecting the gutter and storm water to the sewer network system.

Thromde also notified the residents not to connect wastewater from building plinth drains to the sewer network and to properly seal the manhole and inspection chamber cover so that surface runoff during rainfall does not enter the sewer network.

Way forward

In the 13th Plan, the Thimphu Thromde plans to upgrade the existing plant and develop a new plant at Dechencholing.

Dawa Gyeltshen said that thromde would also install Johkasou soon and study its efficiency. “Thromde may not invest in Johkasou but can encourage house owners to use the technology where the reach of Thromde sewer network system is not possible.”

As per the review of Thimphu Structural Plan 2047, there are recommendations for the setup of bigger capacity sewer treatment plants. 

Officials from the health ministry said that sewage issues require a comprehensive approach, and the ministry would invest in infrastructure development, behaviour change campaigns, community engagement, policy support, and adequate funding.

There will be a replacement for the existing sewer trunk line with bigger diametre pipes as per Thromde’s media focal person.

Back to square one?

Sat, 05/11/2024 - 15:20

Bhutan believed that our tourism policy had to change. After much resistance, controversy and criticism, a change was made. Bhutan is marketed as a high-end tourist destination under the Bhutan “Believe” brand offering potentials, possibilities and the opportunities for a unique experience.

The immediate change felt was the revised sustainable development fee with the reasoning that tourism should be sustainable and that in the long term the change in policy, a part of the larger reforms in the country,  should be ploughed back not only into tourism, but also in social sectors, like education and health.

After the initial hiccup and the 50 percent reduction on the SDF, tourism is bouncing back. Tourist arrivals as of April have nearly doubled last quarter’s figures. Unfortunately, the old issues are back too. If the change was for high value and low volume, what is happening on the ground is quite the contrary. Judging by what those in the  industry say, we are as good as back to square one.

The belief in high value has taken a backstage, as we chase numbers. Undercutting,  the reason behind the high volume low value, is still determining who gets what or who brings in more. The repercussions are worse after the SDF revision. At a glance, the numbers are impressive. But the benefits are not trickling down or spreading, as the old trick in the business still determines arrivals, revenue and services provided. 

The revised SDF was not only to improve the government’s revenue from tourism. The mandatory fee paid straight to the government cannot be played around. It has resulted in improved revenue, but has not benefited the service sector.

In the name of competition and survival for some, Bhutan suddenly became cheaper. Those in the business are saying that they are selling tour packages as low as USD 50 or 80 per person per night excluding the SDF. Some operators will still make substantial profit from numbers or from advantages of other services they could provide. 

However, this unhealthy competition is affecting the hotel industry, most of which are dependent on the tour operators. The irony is that since the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of hotels has increased by about 54 percent. Many compromise with the belief that selling cheaper is better than remaining empty. 

The hotelier may make a small margin but it will impact how the cooks, the waiters, the driver and the housekeepers are paid after waiting for years for business to pick up. The aspiration was that with improved tourism business and a revised SDF, everyone in the industry would see improved benefits.

It is an irony that against the vision of making Bhutan an exclusive destination, we have fallen back to the same old track. This must change and it is not late.  Change again must begin from those in the industry. Outdoing each other by selling cheap, as they are experiencing, will not help anyone. Soon it will compromise services, arrivals and brand Bhutan.

The concerns of hoteliers and tour operators should be looked into. We need to investigate if there is fronting in tourism or if foreign tour operators are determining rates. We have to monitor hotels if it is easier to get a three-star certificate and function at a budget hotel level. Reintroducing the system of deducting taxes at source from tour operators could help curb undercutting.

Australia raises minimum savings requirement for student visa

Sat, 05/11/2024 - 15:20

KP Sharma

The Australian government has raised the savings requirement for international student visa applicants.

The change, effective yesterday, was announced recently.

Several colleges have also been issued warnings about fraudulent student recruitment practices.

Under the revised regulations, international students must show savings of at least AUD 29,710 to obtain visa.

This marks the second increase in seven months, following the raise from AUD 21,041 to AUD 24,505 in October last year.

According to a press statement from Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Clare O’Neil, the change is aimed at ensuring that students arriving in Australia for studies can adequately support themselves and are protected from potential exploitation.

The decision follows the government’s move in March to increase the English language requirements for student visas.

In addition, the Australian government has been working to eliminate regulations that previously enabled students to extend their stay in the country after the completion of their studies.

The government has taken action against unethical practices within the education sector by issuing warning letters to 34 education providers for non-genuine or exploitative recruitment practices.

These warnings, as stated by Clare O’Neil, provide a six-month window for providers to rectify their behaviour. Failure to do so could result in suspension of certificates, effectively halting their ability to recruit international students.

Penalties for breaches include imprisonment for up to two years.

“Dodgy providers have no place in our international education sector. These actions will help weed out the bottom feeders in the sector that seek to exploit people and trash the reputation of the sector,” Clare O’Neil said.

It has been noted that the surge in migration post-pandemic, particularly driven by international students, has increased pressure on the government. This coincides with a noticeable rise in rental prices across the country.

Reports indicate a 60 percent increase in net immigration, reaching a record 548,800 individuals in the year leading up to September 30, 2023.

In response to these challenges, the government has revised its migration strategy, with the aim to halve Australia’s migration intake in the next two years.

According to media reports, international students contribute significantly to Australia’s economy, with a reported worth of AUD 36.4 billion in the financial year 2022-23

What does this mean for Bhutanese students planning Australian visas?

For Bhutanese considering launching an Australian student visa application, it is important to stay informed about ongoing changes in migration regulations.

As experts involved in guiding individuals through visa processes suggest, these regulations are expected to evolve in the coming months.

This aligns with the government’s commitment to implementing a revised migration strategy aimed at reducing migration numbers to pre-pandemic levels.

In recent years, there has been a steady rise in the proportion of Bhutanese students in Australia, with the biggest concentration in Perth, Western Australia.

According to WAtoday, an online newspaper focusing on Perth and Western Australia, approximately 7,238 Bhutanese students hold student visas in Perth alone as of 2024.

Experts advise student visa applicants to secure higher education loans, especially if their annual fees are on the higher side.

With semester fees varying across colleges, insufficient funds could pose challenges in sustaining oneself or making necessary arrangements.

Given the fluctuating exchange rates of the Australian Dollar (AUD) and potential changes in visa rules, it is important to maintain sufficient money by budgeting for higher exchange rates.

This precaution ensures that even if rates fluctuate shortly before visa lodgement, applicants are better positioned to meet financial requirements and avoid any last-minute complications.

It’s also crucial to understand the accurate calculation of funds required under various categories, such as for single applicants, couples with or without children, among others.

To stay aware of the evolving visa rules in Australia, Bhutanese applicants are urged to seek thorough counselling and guidance from reputable consultancy firms or other reliable sources before launching visa applications.

ADB report reveals challenges related to ageing workforce, recommends policy changes

Fri, 05/10/2024 - 12:59

Yangyel Lhaden 

By 2050, Asia and the Pacific are expected to undergo a significant demographic shift, with a quarter of the total population aged 60 or older. However, despite this impending change, the region remains ill-prepared to ensure the well-being of its ageing population, especially in developing Asia.

This insight comes from the Ageing Well in Asia report 2024, prepared by the Economic Research and Development Impact Department of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

In Bhutan, a similar trend is observed, with the elderly population experiencing unprecedented growth due to declining fertility rates and increased life expectancy.

In 2022, individuals aged 60 and above constituted 9.5 percent of the population, a figure projected to double to 19.7 percent by 2047. Similarly, those aged 65 and above made up 6.6 percent of the population in 2022, with expectations to rise to 13.4 percent by 2047.

The ADB report highlights the challenges faced by the elderly population, including the fact that a staggering 94 percent of workers aged over 65 are employed in the informal sector, lacking benefits such as paid leave and pensions. Moreover, there exists a wide rural-urban gap in terms of financial preparedness for retirement.

The report advocates for multifaceted policy recommendations to address the needs of aging populations.

Governments are urged to prioritise healthy ageing through initiatives such as promoting healthy diets, primary care, and health awareness campaigns.

Additionally, expanding pension coverage and fostering greater financial literacy are recommended to ensure economic security in old age. Family support, particularly through social pension coverage, is deemed vital to mitigate poverty risks among the elderly.

Furthermore, establishing comprehensive long-term care systems and supporting family caregivers are emphasised as crucial steps. Combatting social isolation among older individuals is also highlighted, with suggestions for community-based initiatives and age-friendly cities, among others.

In Bhutan, efforts are underway to address these challenges.

The government has allocated Nu two billion for a social protection scheme benefiting all Bhutanese. A policy for senior citizens was endorsed last year with objectives, including active participation in decision-making processes, provision of secure housing, social security measures, and safeguarding their rights.

Masatsugu Asakawa, ADB president, emphasises the Bank’s commitment to assisting member nations in achieving universal health coverage, investing in quality infrastructure, fostering age-friendly urban development, reforming pensions and social security, and establishing robust community-based long-term care systems.

The report emphasises the importance of providing policymakers with essential data and analysis to facilitate informed decision-making.

Tang residents call for additional health worker

Fri, 05/10/2024 - 12:58

YK Poudel

Bumthang—Recently, a nurse from Tang Primary Health Center (TPHC) resigned leaving the health center with a lone health assistant (HA) who has to make himself available for all services.

Villagers in Tang, meanwhile, grapple with the absence of a female nurse, making women in particular, uncomfortable when seeking medical assistance and services.

The TPHC presently provides major primary health care services including out-patient and in-patient services, observation, mother and child, laboratory, maternity, emergency and traditional medicine services.

HA Tashi Dhendup, said that on average over 20 people visit the center daily. The center has a traditional medicine health worker to cater to the traditional services including herbal bath.

Tashi Dhendup said that seasonal diseases and infections like common cold, skin diseases and eye infections are common among students. “With improvement in sanitation, the cases of diarrhea have greatly reduced,” he said.

The center also provides annual elderly care camps across the gewog for the convenience of senior citizens. He said that the TPHC covers 400 households where over 2,000 patients visit annually and requires immediate attention. “Being the lone staff here is challenging,” he said.

“Every month, I have to visit five outreach clinics (ORCs) across the gewog. In my absence the TPHC remains shut,” he said. “Having an additional staff would allow smooth flow of services.”

The villagers, especially women, have been raising the need for a female health worker at the earliest.

Moreover, as per health guidelines, a gewog health center should be manned by at least a basic health worker, a health assistant and an auxiliary nurse and midwife.

The need for additional health workers has been raised several times to the gewog and dzongkhag with no attention thus far.

Although, he said, equipment for major health care services is not an issue currently, having a technical expert would allow efficient services at the center itself.

Tang Gup Ugyen Nima, said that the gewog will support certain facilities at the center in its 13th Plan. “The need for additional health workers has to be routed through the dzongkhag since the human resource is managed by the dzongkhag,” he said.

The government has pledged to deliver one doctor and adequate health staff, including one female health worker in all gewogs based on need. The government has also promised to ensure that every Bhutanese will be provided with an annual comprehensive health check-up including blood test, endoscopy and ultrasound.

Rural entrepreneurship thrives into profitable business

Fri, 05/10/2024 - 12:58

YK Poudel

Bumthang—Chimme begins his routine before dawn. By 5:30 am, he’s behind the wheel of his bolero, criss-crossing villages in Tang to collect milk from local residents. By 9 am, he’ll have gathered around 650 litres of milk. He has been doing this for over a decade.

Chimme was in eighth grade when his father received support from Helvetas Bhutan to establish a milk-processing unit (MPU) in Tralang, Bumthang. He discontinued his schooling to focus on establishing his own venture. At the age of 32, he considers this business to be a success.

Every week, Chimme delivers over 300 strings of chugo to Thimphu via bus

Chimme’s processing unit, situated a few Kilometres from the Tang Gewog Office, operates throughout the day.

“Since 2018, I have been producing chugo (hardened cheese). It fetches a good price,” he said. “The business has picked up after the pandemic.”

“When the business started in 2009, it focused on cheese and butter production, which wasn’t very lucrative. Today, it is a chugo-producing unit.

Chimme’s success has fueled investments in new machinery, a transportation vehicle, and the hiring of two staff members over the past two years.

While the villagers seek a place to sell their milk, Chimme offers them a market.

The Wobthang Community Farm is a daily supplier of 100 litres of milk. Additionally, 54 households from the community supply 580 litres of milk to the MPU.

During the winter season, milk production declines, with MPU receiving only between 250 and 300 litres of milk, posing a challenge to Chimme’s business.

Every week, Chimme delivers over 300 strings of chugo to Thimphu via bus, each string consisting of 20 pieces, which fetches him Nu 240.

Chimme expressed his interest in expanding his business to produce cheese as well. “However, obtaining grant support for a private business, especially in a rural village setting has been a challenge so far,” he said.

Tshomo, a supplier, starts milking her cows as early as 6:30 am, and by 8:30 am, she has the milk ready for the vehicle to pick up. “I supply between 10 and 20 litres daily, fetching Nu 40 per litre,” she said. “The initiative is beneficial for the farmers in the village—we are able to earn a favourable price.”

Norlha, a farmer from Kidum, walks for half an hour to reach the road point.

“The price of milk has increased and it’s much better when we have local infrastructure in the village itself,” he said. “Farmers in the chiwog depend on livestock, making it crucial for relevant agencies to provide timely support with fodder and feed—doing so will encourage the farmers to work effectively.”

Bhutan gears up for 2024 Snowman Race

Fri, 05/10/2024 - 12:57

Thinley Namgay

The initial phase of selecting Bhutanese runners for the 2024 Snowman Race (SMR) will begin in mid-July with the selection run.

The SMR Secretariat and the Bhutan Amateur Athletic Federation (BAAF) have finalised the route for the selection run.

The day-long race will start from Thimphu and conclude in Paro. The route has been planned to expose runners to diverse elevations, mirroring the conditions encountered during the SMR, helping them acclimatise for the high-altitude run.

The race will start from Motithang in Thimphu. Runners will cross Phajoding, Labana, Jigme Langtsho, Tshokam, Jele Dzong, and conclude at Paro National Museum.

Covering a distance of 61km in a day, participants will experience elevations of up to 4,000 metres above sea level. The endpoint in Paro is situated at 2,450 metres above sea level.

There will be five aid stations—Phajoding, Simkota Tsho, Jimilangtsho, Jangchulkha, and Jele Dzong.

As of yesterday, only two participants had registered. Registration will remain open for more than a month.

In the second phase, eight runners chosen from the first round will compete in Laya alongside highland runners to select the top five national runners who will then compete with a group of elite international runners in the SMR.

The decision to prioritise the participation of highlanders in the second phase is aimed at showcasing their stories about the impact of climate change on their communities.

Personal training is ongoing for race enthusiasts. However, the top national athletes from the first SMR are not allowed to participate this time, as they are currently training under the BAAF for international competitions.

The SMR Secretariat, along with 17 other agencies, is gearing up for the activities of this second edition of the race.

The SMR Secretariat and representatives from various agencies held two rounds of technical meetings.

One of the issues discussed at the technical meeting on May 8 was accommodation for officials and runners, as the event coincides with the Royal Highland Festival.

The race will take place on the second day of the Royal Highland Festival in Laya. For some, finding accommodation may be difficult. However, the SMR Secretariat has agreed to ensure early booking with homestay owners.

To attract international participants, Drukair would provide ticket discounts for international runners and the international production team. Moreover, special rate discounts for helicopter services would be offered to international media.

The agencies involved are advised to develop a standard operating procedure on how they can contribute to the race. An official from the DeSuung Office stated that, unlike other agencies, dessups can coordinate and provide necessary support in various areas as requested by agencies.

 

Media Coverage

NHK International, Nippon Hoso Kyokai  (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), has agreed to produce a special programme with SMR as the main theme and feature Bhutan’s message on climate change.

This will be one of the special programmes when NHK celebrates 100 years in 2025. NHK will  collaborate  with Bhutan Broadcasting Service and will have a programme  in English, Japanese, and Dzongkha.

Michel Beck from Bishop Peak Production will also produce a special documentary about the race.

 

Risk Management Plans

The SMR is regarded as the world’s toughest race, and the well-being of runners and officials on duty is the primary concern for the country.

The technical team meeting agreed to address the shortcomings of the first SMR in 2022. Reflecting on past issues, the technical team decided to relocate the third aid station to Geche Gom instead of Geche Wom, address the absence of mobile network coverage, and utilise satellite phones for communication.

Moreover, the technical team discussed installing very high-frequency (VHF) radio base sets at all checkpoints to facilitate communication between aid stations and using postpaid SIM cards for satellite phones in aid stations and prepaid SIM cards elsewhere.

Training on the Global Positioning System (GPS) tracker for runners will be coordinated by RBP, Bhutan Red Cross Society, and other relevant agencies.

 

Changes in this year’s SMR

The race will start from Laya instead of Gasa Dzong in the first edition. The SMR Secretariat stated that flagging off the race on the second day of the Royal Highland Festival would provide an opportunity for participants of both the festival and the race to meet and build networks. “It is also a great opportunity to celebrate their commitment to a good cause together.”

The distance of the 2024 SMR is 196km instead of 203km. Runners will have to complete it in four days, ending in Bumthang. The distances from Laya to Tarina camp, Tarina to Tenche, Tenche to Warthang, and Warthang to Chamkhar are 45 km, 51 km, 46 km, and 54 km, respectively.

Fifteen runners will participate in the race, comprising 10 international runners and five Bhutanese competitors. Organisers aim to provide equal opportunities to both genders. In the first edition, 29 runners participated.

According to the SMR Secretariat, the number of runners has been reduced to increase the profile of athletes with the potential to generate increased climate action and awareness. “The other advantage of a smaller number is the safety of the runners and those organising the race, as it will be easier to manage.”

Eight international athletes have confirmed their participation.

Runners will compete across oxygen-sparse terrain with an average elevation of 4,500m (14,800 feet), with the highest point reaching 5,470m (17,946 feet).

Lenders to the rescue of borrowers?

Fri, 05/10/2024 - 12:56

That our financial institutions (FIs) are mulling to provide loan deferment from six months to a year to borrowers facing genuine financial difficulties comes as a huge relief to the thousands of borrowers across various sectors. The current loan deferment period ends on June 30. Many in the private sector including small businesses are worried.

Notwithstanding interventions through fiscal and monetary policies since the Covid-19 pandemic, the private sector, much of it, is yet to recover. This could be attributed to the slowdown in the economy. Even with a positive growth trend, the impact is not felt on the ground. If the private sector is expected to drive the economy, those in the sector say except for the mining and the ferro silicon industries, the rest are struggling including from the burden of repaying loans.

At a time when the economy is still in the expectation mode of bouncing back, the financial institution could lend a helping hand to its clients, who like they said, are in genuine need. The sectors being considered are many, an acknowledgement of the problems. The conditions are clear and assessment stringent.

Even if,  like a banker said, factors such as borrowers’ income, occupancy rate (hotel), and overall business performance are considered, there would be hundreds if not thousands who would request deferment. Who gets or not will depend on the conditions set, but the banks surely should come to the rescue of their clients.

The tourism industry has bounced back with tourist arrivals in the first three months nearly doubling last spring’s figure. The government announced a revenue of USD 13 million. Allied sectors like the hotel industry are still struggling. Steep undercutting to the pre- pandemic level for dollar-paying tourists and  absorbing the daily sustainable fee of Nu 1,200 in the package has led to the increased number, but the revenue has not trickled down to the hotel business.  Everybody owes the banks and they compromise to give in to tour agents who they depend on for guests. Occupancy rate as of now is a mere 20 percent even though many are selling cheap.

Contractors, big and small are saying there is no work because there are no investments. Retail businesses often become the joke as they bask in the sun waiting for customers. Mi Ra Mindu (there are no people) is the common reason for businesses shutting or moving away.

At the moment, our banks, if they could help  borrowers in need, would not be “a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.”

Deferring loan payment alone, even for a year, however, is a short term solution. What is needed is investments to spur economic activities that in turn will create employment.

Can reviewing RCSC for B.Ed graduates address teacher shortage issue?

Fri, 05/10/2024 - 12:55

KP Sharma  

Amidst the ongoing concern over severe shortages of teachers in schools nationwide, there is an increasing public discussion about whether employing B.Ed graduates could effectively tackle these vacant positions.

The public discussion surfaced following the government’s formation of a committee to explore the regularisation of contract employees, a matter that was previously abandoned by the former government due to policy constraints.

People are asking why allowing trained teachers easier entry into civil service is difficult if the government can undertake such challenging reforms.

Trainees are hopeful for changes under the new government and with the establishment of the new RCSC.

Initially, B.Ed graduates did not have to sit civil service exams.

A teacher in Samtse said that civil service exam and other screening processes became mandatory due to an excess supply of teachers.

“In the past, the teacher attrition rate was not high, and to manage the surplus teachers beyond the market demand, the RCSC exam served as a filter,” he said.

With changes in enrollment policies at the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB), B.Ed trainees at institutions such as Samtse College of Education (SCE) and Paro College of Education (PCE) are now selected at the beginning of the admission process, ahead of admissions for other colleges.

The rationale behind this initiative, as previously stated by the RUB, is to enhance the attractiveness of the teaching profession by admitting only high academic achievers into the teacher training programmes.

Now, high-achieving students are joining teaching programs and getting four years of training. But they feel it’s unfair because, despite their skills, they have to face tough scrutiny in different areas during the RCSC.

However, if they don’t pass the RCSC, their future is at risk because they are specialised in teaching and have limited job options compared to other graduates.

Although the RCSC now lets candidates sit for civil service exam multiple times to increase their chances of getting through, it has not worked well for B.Ed graduates.

When B.Ed graduates are hired for contract positions, it demoralises them as they feel it is unfair. Despite completing extensive four-year courses, they still don’t have a secure future.

This is why many B.Ed graduates in contract positions have left for other opportunities. Being placed in the same status as general graduates or with a different contract makes them regret their decision.

A teacher in Dagana said that once trainees are enrolled in the four-year courses, they undergo rigorous training in teaching and RCSC is not mandatory for them.

He added that now the trainees are selected first, taking only the high achievers and when they are tested solely on Dzongkha, English, and aptitude during the RCSC, it cannot truly define their ability in the teaching profession.

He pointed out that while the viva tests assess speaking skills, they do not evaluate actual teaching abilities. This, he added, gives an advantage to individuals who are fluent speakers.

He questioned why, despite the pressing need for teachers, the RCSC prioritises screening processes, and some individuals aren’t even hired on contract.

He suggested that to enhance education quality, the education ministry should have autonomy, creating its own regulations.

The teacher believes that such a development could help alleviate the issue of teacher shortages, as it would streamline the recruitment processes and administrative procedures, leading to quicker hiring.

ཞིང་རྨོ་ནི་ འགོ་བཙུགས་ཡོདཔ།

Thu, 05/09/2024 - 14:11

ཆར་ཆུའི་དུས་ཚོད་ འགོ་བཙུགསཔ་དང་བསྟུན་ སོ་ནམ་པ་ཚུ་གིས་ ཁོང་རའི་ ས་ཞིང་ཚུ་རྨོ་ནི་ འགོ་བཙུགས་ཡོདཔ་བཞིན་དུ་ དུས་ཅི་ ལོ་ཐོག་ཚུ་ ལེགས་ཤོམ་སྦེ་ བསྡུ་ཚུགས་པའི་ རེ་བ་བསྐྱེདཔ་ཨིན་མས།

མི་དབང་མངའ་བདག་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་མཆོག་གིས་ སྐུ་སྒེར་ཚོགས་སྡེའི་ ཁྲི་འཛིན་དང་ ཁྲི་འཛིན་འོགམ་ བསྐོ་བཞག་གནང་ཡོདཔ།

Thu, 05/09/2024 - 14:09

༉ ཁ་ཙ་ མི་དབང་མངའ་བདག་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་མཆོག་གིས་ སྐུ་སྒེར་ཚོགས་སྡེའི་ ཁྲི་འཛིན་དང་ ཁྲི་འཛིན་འོག་མ་ བསྐོ་བཞག་ཐོག་ ལེགས་དར་གནང་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

བློན་པོ་རྟ་མགྲིན་རྡོ་རྗེ་(མཁས་དབང་)ལུ་ འབུ་རས་ལི་ཝང་གནང་ཡོདཔ་བཞིན་དུ་ སྐུ་སྒེར་ཚོགས་སྡེའི་ ཁྲི་འཛིན་སྦེ་ བསྐོ་བཞག་གནང་ཡོདཔ་ད་ བློན་པོ་རྟ་མགྲིན་རྡོ་རྗེ་གིས་ སྤྱི་ལོ་༡༩༧༦ ཟླ་༡༢ པའི་ནང་ པུ་ནི་ལུ་ དམག་སྡེ་གི་ གསོ་བའི་མཐོ་རིམ་སློབ་གྲྭ་ནང་ལས་ མཐར་འཁྱོལ་བྱུང་བའི་ཤུལ་ལུ་ བསྟན་སྲུང་དྲག་པོའི་དམག་སྡེ་ནང་ འགོ་དཔོན་འབད་དེ་ ལོ་ངོ་༣༠ ཕྱག་ཞུ་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

སྤྱི་ལོ་༢༠༠༩ ལུ་ མི་དབང་མངའ་བདག་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་མཆོག་གིས་ བློན་པོ་རྟ་མགྲིན་རྡོ་རྗེ་ལུ་ འབུ་རས་དམརཔོ་ གནང་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

དྲགོས་སྐལ་བཟང་དབང་འདུས་ལུ་ ལྷན་རྒྱས་འོགམ་གི་ བཀབ་ནེ་གནང་ཡོདཔ་བཞིན་དུ་ སྐུ་སྒེར་ཚོགས་སྡེའི་ ཁྲི་འཛིན་འོག་མ་སྦེ་ བསྐོ་བཞག་གནང་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པས།

དྲགོས་སྐལ་བཟང་དབང་འདུས་ཀྱིས་ ལྷན་རྒྱས་གཞུང་ཚོགས་ཀྱི་ དྲུང་ཆེན་དང་ འབྲུག་གི་སྐུ་ཚབ་སྦེ་ ཕྱག་ཞུ་ཡོདཔ་ཨིན་པའི་གནས་ཚུལ།

བཙན་སྐྱོགས་དབང་འདུས།

སྐུ་སྒེར་ཚོགས་སྡེའི་ཁྲི་འཛིན་ བློན་པོ་རྟ་མགྲིན་རྡོ་རྗེ་(གཡས་)དང་ སྐུ་སྒེར་ཚོགས་སྡེའི་ ཁྲི་འཛིན་འོགམ་ དྲགོས་སྐལ་བཟང་དབང་འདུས།

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