Tuesday, June 27, 2017

State of Bhutan’s Hydropower Egg Basket

Obviously, Bhutan’s hydropower story is all about the egg and the basket. According to our Economic Affairs Minister, Bhutan has no other eggs, other than the hydropower egg. So, let us take time off to examine how sound our egg is and how capacious is the basket that we hope to put our eggs in. But before I start to crunch the numbers, let me remind you of what Mr. John H. Gerstle, C.E., MNIF, one of the consultants who worked on Bhutan’s First Hydro-power Master Plan, had recommended.

In my work with RGOB, I strongly encouraged the early determination of those rivers and river basins to be designated for hydro-power development, and those to be preserved for environmental, social, cultural, tourism, recreational and other objectives.

Similarly, it was recommended that hydro-power development be concentrated in a small number of river basins, to limit the extent of the impacts and the expense of new infrastructure development required for projects far away from each other. It was expected that such a concentration of hydropower development along some rivers would enable other rivers to be conserved and protected.

These recommendations were made in the reports of the first Bhutan Hydropower System Master Plan so that the consideration could be done at an early stage, before significant investments and commitments would make such decisions more difficult.

NOTE: Contrary to what was recommended, we now have hydropower projects in 4 of our 5 major river basins.

We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to engage consultants to prepare master plans and project reports – and then go and throw it under the bus, or completely ignore them.

Coming back to the matter under discussion, the general perception is that India is an all-encompassing infinite basket for our hydropower eggs. Few are aware that for the last three years, that basket has been overflowing with all sorts of eggs - thermal, nuclear, hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, etc.

Some facts about our hydropower egg basket:
India has, for the past three years, been electricity surplus, so much so that early this year, West Bengal Power Minister has threatened to carry coal to Newcastle – he wants to export 1,000 MW of electricity to Bhutan, among other regional countries! India has declared itself net electricity exporter, exporting more than what it imported from Bhutan. Now let us look at some other numbers.

India has a projected peak demand of 173,000 MW. As opposed to that, as of May, 2017, India boasts of an installed capacity of 330,000 MW.

Additional 90,000 MW is in the pipeline.

The Indian story has been that hydro-power’s contribution to the overall electricity generation has been declining steadily. From a high of 45.69% in 1966, the hydroelectricity now contributes merely 13.5% of India’s total electricity generation, as of May, 2017.

A total of 34 planned hydropower projects totaling 23,000 MW remain stalled, because of uncertainties caused by changing market forces and shift in technology, including dangers posed by global warming and climate change.

India no longer recognizes electricity production as critical to its economic advancement. This is because firstly, electricity production is not a big employer and, secondly, it has seen surplus production in excess of its demand, for the past three years.

India is pushing to achieve 100 GW of solar electricity by the year 2022.

Production cost of solar energy in India is set to fall below those of coal (thermal) levels - Nu.2.90 per unit as opposed to current cost of Nu.3.20 for coal.

Power plants in many of the Indian States have resorted to curtailing generation, because of excess supply beyond their needs.

In a single year, the bid for solar power fell from Nu.4.34 to Nu. 2.62 – a drop of 40%. Power companies in India are now offering to charge only Nu.2.62 per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated from solar panels.

Indian States of Odisha and Utter Pradesh have cancelled their bids for 7 Gw and 3.8 Gw power plants, as a result of installed capacity far exceeding demand.

Gujarat has already shelved their ultra-mega plan for 4,000 MW coal power project, on grounds of excess generation.

Caused by falling solar power prices, and excess generation, close to 13 Gw of coal power projects have been cancelled across various Indian States. 34,000 MW of planned production has been scrapped.

Do you see it now? While India is cancelling most of its planned generation, Bhutan is aggressively pushing for more hydropower projects. Is it stupidity? Is it lunacy? Or is it personal greed? To what can you attribute this madness?

Soon our glacial-fed rivers may cease to be qualified as renewable resources, because global warming and climate change grossly hinder their rate of renewal. India is seeing two times the generation they need.

PHEP I & II are monumental disasters, as enterprises of profit. And yet, we say hydro-power is our only egg. As I have said before, it is not the hydropower projects that I am against – it is the manner in which they are done. If we cannot do a good job of it, let us shelve them!

In conclusion, let me leave you with what the World Bank has to say about our only egg:

Bhutan’s hydro-power projects have largely been perceived risk-free, and thus rapid hydro-power investment through heavy borrowing has not caused much concern until recently. Yet available information suggests that the sector’s financial performance has been deteriorating since 2007. The net profit (before tax) per unit of electricity sold has fallen sharply since 2007, driven by rising costs and declining revenue. The sector’s regular contribution to the budget has also declined for the past 10 years, from 6-8 percent of GDP during the early 2000s to 2.7 percent in 2011/12, notwithstanding the significantly increased electricity generation capacity. All this indicates that the sector’s “high commercial profitability” cannot be taken for granted. Should the hydropower sector’s financial performance continue to deteriorate, Bhutan’s solvency could be threatened. Although debt service costs are being borne by DGPC at present, after all, the hydropower debt is the government’s liabilities. The source of the performance deterioration has to be identified, and, remedial actions taken soon to avoid debt service difficulties.

Economic Policy and Debt Department
The World Bank

The World Bank is already worried about our capacity to remain solvent – meaning they think we are likely to go bankrupt!

Credits: Some figures quoted in this post have been derived from the Magazine "ENERGY Towards Sustainability, Justice and Equity" edited by Soumya Dutta.

Monday, June 26, 2017

State of Bhutan’s Hydropower Projects

According to the recent public declaration made by our Economic Affairs Minister Lyonpo Leki Dorji, Bhutan has no other eggs, other than the hydro-power egg. Thus, it would seem like Bhutan’s hydro-power story is all about the egg and the basket. If so, it is important to take time off to examine how really bankable our hydro-power projects are. And, while bringing perspective to our hydro-power projects, by necessity, we must dwell on our two largest ongoing projects – the Punatsangchhu Hydro Electric Projects I & II. Another of Bhutan’s large hydro-power projects – the 720 MW Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project Authority deserves mention – but for now I will limit myself to PHEP I & II.

Our hydro-power potential
We believe we have 30,000 MW hydro-power potential of which 23,760 MW is said to be economically feasible.

How many of you believe that this is still true and valid, in today’s context? The assessments were made about 3-4 decades back. And, in all likelihood, the assessments would have been made by WAPCOS, the principal Consultants to Bhutan’s disastrous hydro-power projects.

Since the assessments were made, the world has seen severe climate change brought on by global warming. Our region is said to be experiencing warming rates that is 1.5 times the global average, causing huge glacial melt and altering rainfall patterns, which alter water-flows into our rivers. Because of this altered scenario, there is a need for a fresh study to determine our real potential, based on the latest climate data. May be our stated potential could be whole lot of air and not water.

Our claim as a net exporter of electricity
Bhutan is supposed to be a net exporter of electricity, exporting over 1,500 MW of electricity to India last year. But we are energy reliant; infact, we are electricity reliant. We have to import electricity from India during the winter months, at a much higher price than at which we exported to them. The government will tell you that this is in the nature of nature. It may be so, but we know that this is something that can be easily corrected. But we can’t be bothered.

Bhutanese CANNOT afford our own electricity
Even stranger, for a country that lists electricity as an exportable surplus, its citizens find electricity too expensive for use as an energy source for cooking and heating homes. Not out of choice but driven by compulsion, Bhutanese people waste many hours of their productive lives - queuing up at the fuel stations, trying to buy LPG and kerosene, for cooking and heating their homes. And what does the government do? Instead of solving the problem, they attempt to manage and bring some semblance of order to the throng that form at the fuel pumps. Tragic.

Bhutan is unprepared for GLOFs and earthquakes
The storage dams of the PHEP I & II, if they ever get built, will create huge water bodies that could alter weather patterns and trigger major earthquakes. And yet, our Disaster Management Department tells us that we are unprepared, in the event of a large earthquake. Bhutan is located in a seismically hazardous zone and the Great Himalayan Earthquake in our part of the world is said to be imminent. In addition, GLOFs are a clear and present danger, given the rate of ice melt that is recorded in our part of the Himalayan region. Bhutan has close to 2,800 lakes of which 25 are potential GLOFs.

Even if we disregard all of the above, something that we cannot ignore is the fact that the PHEP I & II sits bang in the middle of a seismically high hazard zone. Take a look at the following Seismic Hazard Zone Map of Bhutan released by IIT, Rourkee, India. I am posting a high resolution image of the map so that readers can download and save it; please go ahead and do so – I have gone to considerable trouble and expense to redraw the map.

How plausible is it that the Chairmen of the Board and the Board Members of the past and present PHEP I & II Board did not know of the precariousness of these projects’ location? There should be no doubt in anybody’s mind why these projects keep encountering all manners of “geological surprises”.

Unbridled project cost escalation
From the original cost estimate of Nu.35.00 and Nu.37.00 billion, the final cost of construction of the PHEP I & II is likely to escalate by 400-500% of their original estimate. 70% of the final cost will have to be borne by the Bhutanese people in the form of loans – at a ludicrous interest rate of 10% per annum. And yet the government and the project authorities will tell you that the loans are self-liquidating – as if we are in the business of liquidating loans.

Astronomical per unit cost of generation
If and when the construction of these disasters end and generation starts, we will find that their cost of generation would have shot through the roof and into the stratosphere. As of last year, it is said that the cost of generation at the PHEP I & II has already crossed Nu.4.00 per unit. The project completion date of these projects have yet again been pushed back to 2019 and 2022. You and I know that these dates will yet again be pushed back. This means the cost of generation will be somewhere in the region of Nu.9.00 – Nu.10.00 per unit, if not more. As against that, consider that our Dagachhu Project is said to be having a hard time selling their electricity at Nu.2.90 in the Indian market. But the government and the Project authorities will tell you that the arrangement is “COST+” – implying that cost is not an issue because we will get paid at the rate of COST+. We will have to watch and see if that will be true.

Plunging cost of generation in our only market - India
In a single year, the bid for solar power in India fell from Nu.4.34 to Nu. 2.62 – a drop of 40%. Given that there is a strong push for renewable energy in India, the photovoltaic and wind turbine technologies are bound to make huge strides. As a result, it is most likely that the cost of generation in India will fall far below Nu.2.00 – by the time our disastrous PHEP I & II come on stream. This is the reason why India is now slowly shifting their focus from thermal and hydro plants to renewable energy - because this sector is all set to take on the leadership role.

There are a few hundred things I can talk about on the sad state of affairs surrounding our hydro-power projects. But I won't go into them since most of them have been touched upon in my various earlier posts. For now let us shift focus to what is happening in India, our extended home market for everything, but most importantly, our sole market for our hydro-power egg.

Our Hon’ble  Economic Affairs Minister says that we have no other eggs – other than our hydro-power egg. He sees no other option, than to strive to put our most preferred “egg” into the Indian egg basket. So let us do a realty check on how bankable our hydro-power egg is, and how spacious our Indian egg basket really is.

Next ….. The State of Bhutan’s Egg Basket

Saturday, June 24, 2017

We Don't Have Other Eggs

A statement made by our Hon’ble Economic Affairs Minister during a recent BBS Panel Discussion on national debt, left me completely startled! His Excellency was quite categorical that “we don't have other eggs.” Listen to the following:


Clearly, Lyonpo thinks, as a number of other Bhutanese do, that all our other eggs are inconsequential. It is truly worrisome to hear a member of our Cabinet say that we have no other eggs. What he is saying is that nothing else matters, other than hydro electricity. From Lyonpo’s statement, it is obvious that we are so blinkered on hydro electricity that we are unwilling to accept that there are other eggs that do matter, certainly even more than hydro electricity.

Could it be possible that Lyonpo may have, even if unwittingly, given us an insight into the Bhutanese psyche? Could this perhaps explain why so many problems beset modern Bhutan? Could this be the reason why our other eggs have seen neglect and, therefore, made poor or no progress at all?

Could this mentality be responsible for the apathy that we see being shown towards every other problem we have, other than hydro electricity?

The wild animals plunder and pillage our farmers’ crops, while they watch in fear and helplessness. But all that the government can do is come up with a strangely inaccurate coinage. They call it “human-wildlife conflict”. Where the dang hell is the conflict, I want to know? A Swiss woman had recently observed that the wildlife predation into the human habitat has been a problem that remains unsolved for the past 4 decades, since she first visited Bhutan.

They capitulate and they surrender - poor rural folks abandon their ancestral homes and fertile lands and migrate by the droves, to seek and find refuge and respite in the urban centers, a wilderness of a different kind. In the process more than 20% of our villages have now been abandoned, and thousands of acres of fertile farmlands remain fallow. And what do we do? We put all our brains together and coin a brand new word for it - we call it Goontong and go about BAU.

We grind it, we dry it, we boil it, we chop it, and we chomp on it. We eat it for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner and for snacks in between. We may puff and we may huff and we may sweat and shed tears while eating it – but it is a food that the Bhutanese eat the most, all life long. Ema Datsi identifies with the Bhutanese more than the upstart GNH. And yet, we have to import 200 truckloads of chilies every year, if need be, by air!

Visitors to the country have been complaining about the dogs barking all night long, for the past many decades (I am in possession of a written record that shows that one American complained about it during Paro Tsechu in April of 1965). This means that this problem has remained unsolved for over half a century. And what do we do? We pool together our collective imagination: we send out a travel advisory – all visitors to Bhutan please bring along earplugs!

The whole of Gaselo hill including the village is at the verge of sliding into the Punatsangchhu because of the destabilization caused by the construction activity of the PHEP I. From its initial estimate of Nu.35.00 billion, the cost has escalated to Nu.97.00 billion as of end last year. By the time the project is done, if at all, the cost is likely to cross Nu.200.00 billion. And yet, our Economics Affairs Minister will tell you that the hydro electricity is the only bankable egg we have. By implication, what he means is that nothing else is important, not our human capital potential, not our agriculture, tourism, cottage industry, mining etc.

In reality, His Excellency the Economic Affairs Minister sorely misses the truth – that his precious egg basket has been brimming with all sorts of eggs for the past three year.

…………….. to be continued: The State of Bhutan’s Hydro-power Projects

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Environmental Governance and Science of Hydropower Development in Bhutan and India

For the past two days, I have been participating in an interesting Seminar co-hosted by the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation & Environment (UWICE), Bumthang at the Terma Linca Resort & Spa, Thimphu, in collaboration with the New Delhi based International Rivers, USA. The theme of the Seminar was “Environmental Governance and Science of Hydropower Development in Bhutan and India”.

The Seminar saw the participation by some seriously interesting and passionate environmentalists and regulators from India, led by Dr. S. Kerketta, Director, Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Government of India. Every one of the other speakers, comprised of a number of Indian environmental NGO’s, including a consulting firm, were enthrallingly articulate and insightful on the subjects they spoke on. It was enough to give me an inferiority complex – I felt so inadequate, on a subject that I have been, and am, so shamelessly passionate about!

Unfortunately our national environmental watchdog – the National Environment Commission (NEC), was not represented in the Seminar – they would have been so much more enriched by the discourse that had me gawking through out, as if someone had stolen my thunder. The discussions were so, so relevant to them!

The bewildering complexity that surrounds the design and construction of hydro-power projects and the devastating impacts they could have as a result of poorly assessed and monitored projects, finally gave me an idea – why the workings of the Punatsangchhu I & II are treated as our national secrets, and are zealously concealed from public scrutiny.

The incidences of disasters in the Indian context as reported during the various presentations of the Seminar - both to human and wildlife, as well as to the environment and the ecology, have to be herd to be believed. It is mind-boggling. It was reported that because of design flaws, inadequate EIA, faulty DPR and host of other problems that could result in possible impacts to the ecology and the environment, tens of dozens of hydro-power projects totaling thousands of megawatts have been stalled or altogether scrapped. India is lucky that there are responsible NGOs that monitor and oppose any incidences of mischief or wrongdoing in mega hydro projects. In Bhutan, hardly a squeak can be heard about the financial and environmental disaster that are being perpetuated at the Punatsangchhu I & II hydro-power projects.

It was reported that the underground powerhouse of the Punatsangchhu II had caved in a few months back. The right bank of the dam site of Punatsangchhu I is reported to be so unstable that whole mountainside has been sliding. Some have expressed the view that the only way to dam the Punatsangchhu river at that location is when the whole Gaselo mountain and village collapse in a heap, at the bottom of the ravine.

The Seminar was enlightening, although I am even more worried as a result. The eventuality of a dam burst as a consequence of a poorly planed, assessed and executed hydro-power construction are frightening. Even without the dam burst, the ecological, environmental and human disasters that can be caused by a shoddy work on the hydro-power projects are simply unfathomable. And the evidence of shoddiness at the Punatsangchhu projects are boundless.

One of the speakers at the Seminar pointed out that he had seen a number of work done by the principal Consultants to the PHPA I & II – WAPCOS. They were so bad and shoddy that he had recommended that the WAPCOS be banned from undertaking any work in the hydro-power sector.

I was happy about that because I too had put forward a similar view – in one of my articles on this Blog, that WAPCOS should be barred from doing any work in Bhutan - based on their shoddy and unacceptable work at the Punatsangchhu projects.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Third Rotary Service Project During the Month

The Rotary Club of Thimphu has been very busy this month. This is the third Service Project we are implementing during the first half of this month. This has got to be a record of sorts, in the life of a Rotary Club, anywhere in the world. Rarely a Club does one project in a month. Some Clubs do not do even one project during the entire Rotary year.

The six GLSS SEN teachers pose with the Vice President of National Federation of the Disabled, Nepal and Ms. Sabita Upreti, Head of Special School for the Disabled & Rehabilitation Center, Kathmandu

GLSS's full set of SEN teachers and Members pose with the TV & Computer system donated to the school as part of the project

This third in a series of projects implemented by the Rotary Club of Thimphu is, yet again, in a school: Gelephu Lower Secondary School, Gelephu. Under this Rotary Project, we sent 6 SEN (Special Education Needs) school teachers of the school for a 6 days, fully paid, training course to a specialized institute in Kathmandu, Nepal. The teachers learnt how to teach and handle school children with a variety of disabilities. The project also included the purchase and delivery of a set of desktop computer and a 40” Color TV.

Rotray Club of Thimphu appreciated by the Gelephu Lower Secondary School - Letter of Appreciation

The Rotary Club of Thimphu has also part-funded the creation of play facilities, including the turfing of the playground at the Changangkha SEN School, Thimphu.

It is our hope that we can continue to support in capacity building in the SEN Schools. But as I said in my earlier post, good intentions are not always reciprocated with equal zeal and enthusiasm.

The Gelephu SEN School project was made possible with funding from Huskvarna Rotary Klubb, Sweden.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Second Rotary Service Project During the Month

Even as I was busy handing over two Rotary service projects in distant Gelephu, our Club President and Director of Community Services were soaking in the limelight at the Babesa Lower Secondary School, on the same day, where they were simultaneously handing over another of our service projects – supply and installation of two filtered and UV treated safe drinking water systems.

The Babesa LSS Principal flanked by our Club President and Community Services Director during the hand-over of the 1st of the two filtered and UV treated safe drinking water to the school.

The school Principal takes over the 2nd drinking water station from the Club official

School children drinking from the safter drinking water station
The supply and installation of safe drinking water stations also included a plastic water storage tank

This project funded by the Rotary Club of Kushiro, Japan will be the last of the water supply projects that we will do in urban schools. During our last weekly Meeting held on Friday the 9th June, 2017, the Club decided that we will no longer support water supply projects in the urban schools. The rationale behind this decision is that the parents in urban schools are financially competent enough to contribute small sums towards the well-being and health of their children. This we believe is not true of parents in the rural schools.

This year, the Rotary Club hopes to be doing 5-6 safe drinking water supply projects in the schools. They will all be for schools in the rural areas.

In addition to safe drinking water supplies, the Rotary Club of Thimphu was hoping to contribute significantly in strengthening the SEN (Special Education Needs) schools in the country. In fact we already have one of the world’s leading authorities on the subject willing to undertake a study and produce a road map on how to go about doing this – in Bhutan’s current 14 SEN schools spread across the country. All free of professional fees! Once the study is done and a road map is charted out, the Rotary Club of Thimphu would then promote the proposal to its 35,000 Clubs and 1.3 million Members around the world, to take up the implementation of the proposals.

Unfortunately, getting the bureaucracy to do their job is like trying to nudge the Mt. Everest – solidly immobile and stoically clueless. No amount of pushing and goading has worked – it is as if we have some self-interest in it. Come to think of it – may be it is the lack of self-interest that is hindering the project’s progress.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Rotary Club Of Thimphu Serves The Living, As Well As The Dead

It sounds almost morbid – but it is true. The Rotary Club of Thimphu has gone beyond serving the living and the corporeal. In what could be the first among hundreds of thousands of Rotary initiatives around the world, our latest service project embraces the cause of the dead and the lifeless.

During early April, 2017, the Central Regional Referral Hospital, Gelephu had written to us for the donation of deep freezers, in order that they could preserve the dead bodies that cannot be moved out of the hospital, on religious grounds. Having obtained the permission of the Ministry of Health to do so, we swiftly organized the purchase and delivery of three large 308 liters capacity box freezers.

In my capacity as the Club Secretary, I drove down to Gelephu day-before-yesterday (Sunday) to officially hand over the freezers to the hospital authorities.

Dr. Tapas Gurung, Medical Superintendent of Gelephu Central Regional Referral Hospital along with some hospital staff pose for photo shoot during handover of the donation

As I drove back to Thimphu yesterday afternoon, I could not stop wondering if there was any merit in what we did – spend time and effort and precious money behind an endeavor that is solely intended to preserve something that is destined for the funeral pyre, to be turned to ashes. Of the millions of ways in which we could demonstrate our sense of charity and spirit of giving, why choose the preservation of lifeless bodies, as a cause deserving of our compassion?

At the end of my ponderous return journey of over 8 hours, I was in no doubt that the cause was indeed a worthy one. This conviction stems from the Buddhist belief that the dead, however poor or rich, literate or illiterate, highly spiritual or totally unaccomplished, deserves a worthy send-off, on his/her journey into the netherworld. In my experience, for the Bhutanese, the mourning of the cessation of a life is ten times more evocative, than the celebration of the birth of a new life. It is for this reason that some Bhutanese families go bankrupt, preparing for, and conducting the last rites for the dead and the departed. Thus, preserving the physical remains of the departed, in order that the bereaved family is able to conduct a fitting and dignified ritual and last rites, can qualify as a meritorious act, deserving of praise and commendation.

To give to those who you know will not say “THANK YOU” for your act of compassion, I believe, is truly selfless. To act for the cause of the mute, the defenseless and the incapacitated is, in my opinion, the highest form of Buddhist charity.

THANK YOU: I would like to offer my thanks to all the Members of the Rotary Club of Thimphu, for readily consenting to my request for this act of kindness. The money used for the purchase of these three freezers was originally destined for our “Education & Lifeskills Fund” that is being created – to provide scholarships to the living and the needy. Our Fund is so much poorer as a result – but we hope to be able to build the Fund to a total of Nu.2.0 million by the end of this financial year, from the current total collection of little over Nu.1.4 million. Our final target is Nu.30.00 million.

To my none-Buddhist readers: In our Buddhist belief, some deaths occur on days/nights that are considered inauspicious – depending on the astrological sign of one’s birth. During such occasions, the body of the departed cannot be cremated and, in some cases, it cannot even be moved out of the premises where the death had occurred. The body has to remain in the same place and cannot be cremated for a period of time until the astrological calculations permit for it to be moved to the cremation grounds for cremation. Until that time the body needs preserving, most often by putting them into freezers, to prevent decay and deterioration. This is where the freezers become useful.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

In The Service Of The Tsa Wa Sum, Customer Service Is Expendable 2

This morning I went to the Druk Air’s Changlam Plaza office, to change the date of travel, for a ticket that I had bought from them. I waited with a sense of apprehension, to be handed the dreaded Reservation Slip, smeared in black streaks of lines.

Surprise!.... the slip I got this morning was a crisply printed, sparkling piece of print-out that resembled a freshly printed currency note. Look at the following original print-out I got:

The original print-out of Druk Air's Reservation Slip - as it is churned out this morning

I am hugely impressed. The Druk Air's management has shown that they are sensitive to customer concerns. Within days of my pointing out, the management has acted swiftly to correct a shortcoming that should not be a shortcoming in the first place. As the major player in a service industry of vital importance, Druk Air needs to be responsive to what their customers are saying, about the level and quality of their service. As the national flag carrier, it is even more important that they put their best foot forward.

In a world filled with egoists, I am glad that the Druk Air's management has taken my criticism of their shoddiness, positively. This is a mark of an organization that is on the ball all the time. Here is praise where it is due.

As a Bhutanese, I have the first right to complain and be critical about my country, government and institutions that represent the nation and the people. I do so because I care. It is borne not of malice, but of love and concern.

Mistakes are an essential part of our growth and learning – they are not a problem. The problem is when one does not learn from them – it is then that a price is exacted.