Tuesday, September 17, 2019

RTI Act - What News Of It?

This morning I woke up to notice that some readers were reading my old posts from 2011 and 2013. It has always amazed me how and why certain readers chose to read some particular posts from the past. I too went back to the two posts to see what was interesting about them. I came back satisfied that peoples' curiosity was justified - they are certainly interesting to read. Please read them at the following:



The above two posts are related to each other - RTI Act. The other most visited post of mine is the post on Kabney & Patang. For some reason, people keep revisiting the post time and again, persistently. If you notice on the left side column, you will see that the post has yet again featured among the top 10 posts, although it is now 6 years old:


However, in terms of visitor visits, the following are the chartbusters:

Monday, September 16, 2019

Bhutan Chamber of Commerce & Industries Seeking To Legalize Its Status

I am hugely intrigued by a report appearing in the KUENSEL of September 13, 2019 that read: BCCI pushes for legal status. What does that mean, exactly?

Is the Chamber seeking to pass a Bill in the Parliament, to legitimize itself, after being in existence for the past 39 years? What is illegal about an organization that is said to represent the interests of the largest of industries and businesses in the country?

In my view the Chamber is wasting its time forming Committees after Committees – to work towards passing of a Bill in the Parliament, to give it legal standing. It would be a mockery for the Parliament to deliberate on a Bill to justify the existence of a private interest group, such as a chamber of commerce and industries.

But I agree with the Secretary General of the BCCI – the organization does not fulfill the mandates of a social/public benefit organization. Thus, it cannot qualify as a Public Benefit Organization (PBO). But it certainly fulfills that of a Mutual Benefit Organization (MBO) since it works towards protecting the mutual interests and benefits of its members and that of the business sector as a whole. Thus, the BCCI should certainly qualify to be recognized and legitimized as a MBO under the CSO Act.

One certainly cannot imagine the legislative house deliberating on an Act to legitimize BCCI. That would be total waste of tax payers' money.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Brand New Sunshine Collection Box for RC Thimphu

More than seven years back, oblivious to an epochal event that was unfolding in Thimphu, I was photographing birds in the jungles of Yongkala, Mongar, Eastern Bhutan. The April month is good for birding - obviously it was also determined that the month is good for establishing new institutions. It was on the 24th of April, 2012 that the Royal Government of Bhutan established the Rotary Club of Thimphu, the one and only Rotary Club in Bhutan.

The entire cost of the formation of the Club, including the cost of hosting the Rotary International dignitaries and expenses for the Club’s Charter gala dinner was borne by the RGoB. In fact the Charter President of the Club was the then Home Minister, Lyonpo Minjur Dorji. Please read all about it at:

To this day I do not know which charlatan proposed my name as a Member. But I have no regrets – my time with the Rotary has been, and continues to be fulfilling. I have served as the Club’s Secretary for the past four RI years.

Since its Charter in April, 2012, the Rotary Club of Thimphu has grown into an organization that has implemented service projects in access of Nu.125.00 million. Our projects have been so meaningful that the then Home Minister Lyonpo Dawa Gyaltshen once told me;

“Yeshey please do not hesitate to come to me for any support your Club needs. For me the Rotary Club is even more important than a government department”.

Our Club’s services to the society have been recognized beyond our borders. A none-Rotarian in the US appreciates our work so much that she has bequeathed a portion of her estate to the Rotary Club of Thimphu.

The Club has 28 Members as of this year. Year after year, I have put in 14-15 hours of work for the cause of the Club. Now I need a little rest – I deserve it. Thus I will be resigning as the Club’s perennial Secretary, as of June end, 2020. I know that there are other Members who are as keen, and as able, to take over the responsibilities of a Club Secretary. A change of guard is called for. It is proper that other Members too must do their time for the Club and the Bhutanese society.

So far everything is hunky-dory with the Club. But there has been one thing that I have been displeased with – the Club’s Sunshine Collection Box. If there is one thing I wanted to do before my departure, it is that I wanted to improve the look of the Box that takes the seat of prominence – bang in front of the Club President and the Club Secretary, at every Friday Meeting. I have now fulfilled that wish – after working on it for 2 full weeks, the Club’s Sunshine Collection Box has received a complete makeover.

Three sides of the Sunshine Collection Box. This box required the engagement of five players: a carpenter to prepare the wood work, a metal worker to prepare the metal trimmings, a graphic artist to prepare the logo outlines, a laser engraver to engrave the logos and the text on three sides of the wooden box, and finally a laser etcher to etch the Club's name on the metal work.

The Sunshine Collection Box that I lovingly constructed for the Club will serve as a demonstration of my love and care for my Club that I will continue to serve and cherish.

What is a Sunshine Collection Box:
At the end of every weekly Meeting on Friday, Members contribute a minimum of Nu.100.00 into the box. If there are visiting Rotarians, they do too. This money goes to pay for the refreshment  that is served during the Meetings.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Viewshed Analysis

This morning I woke up to find that someone was online reading my article that I had posted 8 years back. I too went to read what I had written. I find that what this reader wrote was meaningful.

Bhutan has some stunningly beautiful architectural monuments. Unfortunately I have been pained to see electrical wires and lamp posts and other ugly structures coming up in and around the structures that spoil the view. I think time has come for us to consider "Viewshed Analysis".

The following was in response to my Blog post on the construction of the ugly Amankora Resort next to the heritage site: Wangdicholing Phodrang:



Hello Yeshey,

I am afraid I come across as a know-it-all whenever I comment on issues in Bhutan as I have spent mere months there. So, I usually keep my thoughts to myself although I am a follower of your blog and I read each post! The problem of the Jakar Amankora hotel forces me to speak up, however.

For all the talk about protecting Bhutan's culture from foreign influence and controlling the negative impacts of tourism, this is a major, tangible contravention.

There are ways to ensure that if a structure as special as Wangdicholing Palace were to have a development project proposed in its vicinity, it would not be adversely affected. One process would be 'viewshed analysis' which is simply considering the potential visual impact of the proposed development on the historic structure and landscape. The Amankora hotel, which leaves Wangdicholing Palace literally in its shadow, is clearly out of harmony with its historic context. I realize that local administrators in Bhutan don't have access to trained experts and funds to deal with landscape preservation but the monolithic hotel should have been permitted only in a less obtrusive part of the valley.

Since development is happening at such high speed here in my country, we have many processes in place to protect significant structures and landscapes although they don't always succeed. My work now is related to protecting archaeological sites from construction works. I'm working as a civil servant with the Ministry of Culture here in my home province.

Anyway, for whatever reason, I feel extremely inspired and motivated to contribute however I can to the management and protection of Bhutan's historic sites. I hope I can return and do some good work in this area, share what I've learned, maybe even train others. I've had the opportunity for education and experience in this uncommon field, in a setting of rapid development. Nobody in Bhutan right now has this background. I understand and appreciate why there's a continuing backlash against "foreign experts" and I know that non-nationals aren't easily employed in Bhutan (unless sponsored by an NGO, which is my hope) so it would be very difficult to make this happen. But, dreams are not supposed to be simple to achieve, right?

Anyway, thanks for reading all that. I hope you are well and I look forward to your continuing posts and photos.

Take care