Two new trekking routes

UPSCALE TRAIL – Lodge-based trekking routes will minimise litter at least

The tourism council of Bhutan (TCB) has identified two additional trekking routes in Wangduephodrang and Bumthang. The Dhur tshachu in Bumthang and Gangtey in Wangduephodrang, TCB said, would give tourists both natural and cultural visiting experience. 

The trekking route to Dhur tshachu, starting from Dhur village, about 30 km from Chamkhar town, would take three days to the hotspring on foot. The whole area falls under the Wangchuck centennial park. The Gangtey trail starts from Gangtey and covers four villages (Phobjikha, Gogona, Khotakha and Rubisa).

The Dhur tshachu trail in Bumthang will benefit Dhur village, while the Gangtey trail in Wangduephodrang will benefit five villages (Gangtey, Phobjikha, Gogona, Khotakha and Rubisa). Continue reading Two new trekking routes

No takers yet for domestic air service

GUINNESS RECORD PROSPECT? – Once operational, Yonphula airport may qualify as the highest of its kind

Will Bhutan have its first domestic air service by October this year? As far as the civil aviation department is concerned, they have not as yet received any proposals. 

Drukair, however, is doing a feasibility study on operating a domestic air service within the country.

Drukair’s managing director, Tandin Jamtsho, said that the present aircraft could not ply in domestic airports because of shorter runways. Operating from a place like Yonphula requires smaller aircrafts and special pilots.

“We’ll have to look into the cost of operations,” said Tandin Jamtsho. The feasibility study would be done by June this year, which he said would determine if Drukair could participate or not. Continue reading No takers yet for domestic air service

The thirsty dzongkhag

Pemagatshel Dzongkhag has put up a proposal to the Gross National Happiness Commission to pipe water all the way from Khaling in Trashigang. Preliminary studies have been conducted on the possibility of piping water from Wamrong but the idea was dropped after finding it unsustainable for long term.

During Lyonchhen’s visit to the dzongkhag in January this year, he said that, since the Khaling stream was said to be receding, there was a need to find a sustainable alternative. He suggested that creating an artificial lake on Oori stream, which is about 1000 m above sea level, for distribution of water to some nearby villages would be a better option. Continue reading The thirsty dzongkhag

Agriculture Ministry returns about five acres land to landowners

The land occupied by the Paro Valley Area Development Project was finally handed over to the landowners today. It was handed over by the Agriculture Minister Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho to the Member of the Parliament from Lamgong-Wangchang constituency in Paro, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuck. 

The land was acquired by the Department of Agriculture in 1990 from 13 farmers under Shari geog in Paro to establish the Paro Valley Area Development Project. The Department of Agriculture paid the farmers Nu. 653 per decimal as compensation. But subsequently, attempts to change the land ownership failed due to disputes over the provision of access road to landowners along the project boundary and demarcation and fencing of the land acquired by the project.  Continue reading Agriculture Ministry returns about five acres land to landowners

Bhutan’s 10th Five-Year-Plan

Centrepiece is poverty reduction. Attention to agriculture and allocation of resources are the unique features of this plan

The 10th Plan has generated unprecedented interest and debate in the history of development planning in Bhutan. Political exigencies have contributed to this debate in a newly established democratic setup. On many occasions, the political discussion loses out to academic merits and demerits of the issues involved. As a student of economics I have only academic interest in the nature of 10th FYP.

In my opinion, the 10th FYP is a major departure from earlier development plans in at least two perspectives: first, it is the first time the issue of poverty reduction finds a central place in the planning process; second, the allocation of resources across the dzongkhags is based on more objectively defined criteria. Continue reading Bhutan’s 10th Five-Year-Plan

Bhutan warmer and wetter

Meteorological data over the last six years show that Bhutan is becoming warmer.

The nationwide data maintained by meteorology section of the department of energy show an annual increase in temperature and rainfall. They show that, in the last six years, there has been an increasing trend in erratic precipitation and monsoon patterns across the country.

Weather forecast records throughout the country confirm climate change in Bhutan.

In the south, the maximum average temperature in Bhur, Sarpang, has risen from 27.08 degree Celsius in 2003 to 28.49 degree Celsius in 2008. In six years, Bhur has become warmer by 1.41 degree Celsius. The average minimum temperature, which was 17.8 degree Celsius in 2003, has shot up by 0.875 degree Celsius in 2008. Continue reading Bhutan warmer and wetter

Power to Tala

In April, Tala Hydroelectric Project Authority (THPA) will merge with Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) creating a mega-energy company.

THPA will continue to exist until all its activities were completed, according to a press release from the cabinet, which approved the amalgamation on February 24.

The DGPC made a detailed presentation to the cabinet on the amalgamation including manpower and organizational aspects of the DGPC management, the impact of the amalgamation on assets and liabilities, modification Courtesy Bank of Bhutanof articles of incorporation, and projected revenues of Tala, including revenues from Chhukha, Kurichhu and Basochhu plants. Continue reading Power to Tala

Bhutan draft water bill discussed


Bhutan is blessed with one of the most important natural resources, water.  Water is the backbone of the Kingdom’s economy with hydropower playing an ever increasing importance in revenue generation. However due to rapid socio-economic development, the pressure on water resource is increasing every year. To address this concern, the National Environment Commission has drafted a water bill. 

It will ensure sustainable use of water and also address water related issues in the future.

So far there is no specific act or an authority to look after the kingdom’s water resource. The government has been protecting the environment and human health through integrated water resource management to ensure safe drinking water and sanitation for the people.  Continue reading Bhutan draft water bill discussed

Nichula geog in Dagana to get a suspension bridge

Nichula geog in Dagana dzongkhag is one of the remotest geogs in the kingdom. For most of the year, it remains cut off from rest of the Kingdom by the swelling Sunkosh River. There is no bridge and motorable road connecting the geog is a distant dream. People including officials use rafts or boats to commute to the village. Things are however set to change for the better with the construction of a suspension bridge about to begin. 

Crossing this huge body of water using the services of the rafts is not for the faint hearted. It is a risky business especially during the summer when the river swells ominously. So before the Monsoon begins, residents travel to Lhamoizingkha to buy stocks of rice, cooking oil, and other essential items.  Continue reading Nichula geog in Dagana to get a suspension bridge

World Bank warns Bhutan of vulnerability

Countries unaffected by first round of global meltdown have to watch out for second wave.

Bhutan is vulnerable to the second round effects of the global economic slowdown, through export earnings, tourism receipts, remittances and external financing for infrastructure, warns the World Bank.

A report on Impact of Global Financial Crisis on South Asia released recently states that countries such as Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Nepal were mostly insulated from the first round effects of the financial crisis, owing partly to their sound macroeconomic management and the underdeveloped nature of financial markets that are not exposed to international markets.

“Additionally, their reliance on foreign funding has been relatively large. The global financial crisis worsened their macroeconomic difficulties as sources of funding contracted,” stated the report. Continue reading World Bank warns Bhutan of vulnerability