Water shortage, dog bites, alternate roofing suggestions and Dzongkha spellings

Water shortage – whose responsibility?

I express my appreciation to Kuensel for covering many stories on the acute shortage of drinking and irrigation water all over the country.

But is the government paying enough attention? I am frustrated that the 12th Plan gives more attention to building helipads in each Gewog than improving drinking and irrigation water. The helicopter services may be required once or twice or not at all during the entire year but we need clean and safe drinking water every day if we are to care for our health and hygiene. We need irrigation water all the year round if we want our rural folks to grow sufficient food to feed ourselves. Why is it so difficult to understand and prioritise our needs?

I wish Thimphu Thromdue can reduce drinking water supply to the ministerial enclave to just few hours a day for a couple of months. This may shake the decision makers to realize the importance of continuous drinking water supply. But that is wishful thinking.

Under the circumstance and with elections coming up, the people can make their choice by the priorities set by the parties.

Padum Gyeltshen
(Published on Jun 4, 2018)

The players provoked the audiences

The recent incident of members of the audience creating a scene at the on- going Chancellor’s Cup in Kanglung as covered by Kuensel was not portrayed in its full picture.

Firstly, it was the players from team Youngsters who instigated the brawl. As an audience we were there to support our team. And cheers and jeers will naturally be a part of any game.

It was wrong of the players to react to the audience’s comments. They not only reacted but also made offensive gestures towards the audiences sitting on the gallery. We had our family members sitting with us and it was not just inappropriate but a very disrespectful act from the team.

Secondly, it was only after the players from the team marched forward with stones in their hands that some members from the crowd picked sticks in response.

And finally the issue would not have become serious had the match officials done their part and taken the right decisions in the first place. One of the players continued arguing with the crowd even as the game continued.

The referee should have stopped him from reacting in the middle of the game. This is a very unprofessional act from both the official and the player.

(Published June 5, 2018)

Need for consistency in spellings for dzongkhags

I am writing to point out the inconsistency in spellings and format for name of places in the country.

We are firm believers in the preservation of our tradition and culture and it’s our responsibility to take it forward. I see different spellings and formats for name of places followed officially and those published in the media such as Kuensel, BBS and other media houses. May I remind all, that not many years ago, our neighbouring country, India realized the loss of its original names of its historical metropolitan cities and later revived the official name by changing Calcutta to Kolkata, Bombay to Mumbai, Madras to Chennai and Bangalore to Bengaluru. We may face a similar fate sooner or later if we don’t take necessary steps before it’s too late.

Firstly, we find quite it challenging as we are not sure of correct spellings that is officially accepted, for instance: Monggar/ Mongar, Chukha /Chhukha, Lhuentse/ Lhuntse, Gyelposhing
/ Gyelpozhing / Gyalpozhing/ Gyalpoizhing, Phuentsholing/ Phunentshogling, Tashichho dzong/ Tashicho dzong etc.

Secondly, different formats are practiced for the name of the places and do not have consistency. To cite a few examples: Wangduephodrang / Wangdue Phodrang, Pemagatshel /Pema Gatshel, Trashiyangtse /Trashi Yangtse, Samdrupjongkhar /Samdrup Jongkhar. If we see Kuensel and BBS news and their web sites, we will notice different spellings being practiced. For example, Kuensel writes as Phuentsholing, Mongar,Trashiyangtse while BBS writes as Phuentshogling, Monggar and Trashi Yangtse. Similarly we see other agencies following the same trend.

I remember the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs was bent on following the “Ada Rachu” rule to preserve our culture. Also the National Council once tabled for discussion the issue of teaching History subject in Dzongkha. I believe that underpinning the discussion was about incorrect spellings for places and persons’ names and dates in the textbooks.

I feel that giving serious thoughts on these issues and preserving the names of our dzongkhags and other important places name with consistent spellings is equally important.

Sonam Tobgay
(Published on June 6, 2018)

Rising dog bit cases in Thimphu city calls for a solution

Everybody who lives in Thimphu will understand the harassment, nuisance and threat the street dogs pose to the tourists and residents alike. Children and elderly are the first victims. They
do not have the freedom to stroll freely in the locality they live in without facing the risk of being attacked by street dogs. Seeing a pack of dogs chasing a running car or bike is a common sight. The frequencies of pack of dogs barking and howling in unison at night not only gives you creepy feelings but also disturbs your much needed sleep. An average 240 dog bite cases per month as reported in Kuensel is quite alarming to say the least!

There may not be a quick fix to the problem. Of course, the City Corporation in cooperation with the Department of Animal Husbandry has initiated mass dog sterilization program from time to time. This is one of the important steps in the right direction in the long run. But that is not enough. And we cannot afford to take it easy and wait especially when the freedom and lives of the weaker and vulnerable section of our society are under constant threat of being bitten or traumatized by street dogs on a daily basis. There is no problem for which there is no solution.

It is time something is done beyond periodic sterilization program.

May be, the City Corporation should carry out a research program by hiring the services of a consultant or a dog expert. May be, they should invite a professional dog trainer to Thimphu to train our street dogs so that they can be converted from liability to asset. Dogs can be trained and employed in a large variety of fields such as, guide dogs, search and rescue, mobility assistance, hearing, companion, detection, herding and so on. While it may depend on their breed, at least they could be trained to guard and protect the crops of our villagers from wildlife. May be we should encourage people to come forward to adopt dogs. May be, RCSC should offer scholarships for dog training. Seriously it may prove to be a very lucrative profession. We certainly will require some dog trainers. While some of these suggestions may sound wild or even stupid, surely some solution should be found with the help of experts. Because we cannot simply wait without doing anything about something that is seriously impacting the daily life of the weaker section of our society. I hope Thimphu City Corporation will seriously start exploring to find a quicker and lasting solution to this very distressing problem.

Thayri Kaka
(Published on June 7, 2018)

Roof urban buildings with solar panel

The need to save energy has become crucial today. There is a need to study more on this subject and cultivate the idea of roofing the buildings with solar panels in urban areas. Solar roofing has several advantages. It will solve the purpose of roofing, generate power and also has aesthetic appeal. But this may not be applicable for rural houses because villagers use their roof space to dry vegetables.

Most of us are worried about the solar panel problems and repairs and hesitate to install such facilities. There are some rules to know before installing the solar panels. In case of roofing, make sure that the roof can support the weight of the PV panel array. Once that is determined and the panels are properly mounted to the roof, they should remain solidly in place. Regular maintenance inspection should ensure that the panels work well. Solar panels are manufactured to with stand severe weather conditions quite well.

It is time we explored an alternative energy source.

(Published on June 8, 2018)

Are we planting the right trees?

Last week we saw a lot of tree plantations across the country. This is an exercise that thousands of Bhutanese mainly students happily embrace each year. While I am happy that we are consciously contributing to the well being of the environment, I have a concern.

Besides the students and government agencies that plant trees, there are others, mainly volunteers who plant trees. These groups may not necessarily source their saplings from forestry officials.

Planting the wrong species of trees can result in adverse impact on water sources and the ecosystems in the particular area. Some species could take up a lot of water leading to drying up of water sources. Others could invade the native species threatening the dynamics of the natural ecosystem.

This is risky. Having more trees is, of course, good but having wrong trees in wrong places, more of them each year could well spell danger for the forest that we are all proud of.

Let’s be mindful and plant responsibly.

Kinley Dorji
(Published on June 9, 2018)

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