BBS Curbing rural-urban migration through rural development

Pema Seldon Tshering, Thimphu
Jun 19, 2017
Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay outlined a series of rural development plans to minimise rural-urban migration in the country.
While presenting the State of the Nation report in the Parliament today, the Prime Minister said rural urban migration is growing. Of over 80,000 households in the rural areas, 4,300 are empty.
Lyonchhen said developing rural places is crucial to encourage people in the villages to stay back. “Constructing roads is the most important rural developmental activity,” said Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay.
Lyonchhen shared that so far, 89 Gewog Centre roads have been blacktopped. “The blacktopping of 24 more Gewog Centre roads will be taken up this year,” said Lyonchhen.
He also said that 66 gewog roads are under construction and that there are plans to construct five more new roads.
Lyonchhen said with roads, the farmers will need fuel. Fuel depots are to be built in 140 gewogs this year. These outlets will not only sell fuel but also LPG cylinders. Currently, 65 gewogs have access to fuel depots.
Lyonchhen also shared that the government has built 119 farm shops. 35 more are under construction. “A total of 51 farm shops will be built this year so that all gewogs will have these shops,” he added.

Need to improve feeding programme in school

June 17, 2017
Our students in boarding schools are not eating the right or good food. This is according to the Royal Audit Authority’s (RAA) latest performance report on the school-feeding programme in 16 schools.
There is lack of standard dietary requirement prescribed for students and schools are unable to ensure required nutrient intake. We have not forgotten the case in Orong Higher Secondary School in Samdrupjongkhar where two students died due to nutrition deficiency. Five students from the same schools had to be sent to Guwahati in Assam, India for medical tests related to nutritional deficiency.
The food prepared in visited schools was found unpalatable and unappetizing, discouraging students to eat the right portion, resulting in fewer intakes of nutrients. According to national nutrition survey, dietary intake is poor especially in rural areas where almost 27.3 percent of pregnant women and 31.3 percent adolescent girls are anaemic. Education Minister Norbu Wangchuk said that 90 percent of the children do not receive required nutrition.
RAA has recommended the education ministry to develop a minimum dietary requirement standard for students besides instituting a strong monitoring and inspection mechanism to ensure that all schools comply with the standard. There is a need to employ an effective mechanism for monitoring nutritional status. As yet, it is difficult for teachers to coordinate and take care of fresh feeding items for a large number of students. Periphery neuropathy or hidden hunger could affect learning abilities of students.
It has also been found that food items supplied to schools are infested or damaged. Although schools are required to inspect damage and infestations, this is not happening. Such things happen because of lack of capacity or means to check the quality of food commodities delivered. This calls for a strong quality control system in school, which will require standardising storage facilities.
Between July 2014 and December 2015, a total of 36.4MT of food items in schools were found damaged.
Agricultural diversification is seen as critically important to improve nutrition and better health among school children. And there are interventions worked out.
What is important is that we establish nationally-owned, sustainable school meals programme as WFP is phasing out their programme from Bhutanese schools.

Thousands attend K-Pop concert

June 19, 2017
The fans poured in thousands at the Changlimithang stadium in Thimphu hours before the first ever K-pop concert began.
Scorching mid-day sun and drizzle in the evening did now deter the crowd. Nor the disappointment over the cancellation of four bands that had confirmed to perform earlier.
It was a long wait because the set was yet to be completed. Technicians were fixing connections to microphones, sound systems, and lights in haste as show managers came barking about, pointing at their watches. The show was delayed by more than an hour.
“How can we do such a huge set up as this within a few hours?” asked a local technician.
Blame was to blame, alas! It rained in the morning, which stopped workers from carrying out the final preparations.
The show began at long last with local bands. The first performance was a Bhutanese tradition song, Jogay Jogay Charo Tshu, a light fusion of traditional and the modern. Then came on The Buds, Idiocracy, Shaw, and Singye, performing some covers and their original songs.
The crowd asked for K-Pop. The stands were taken. The rows in front of the stage were mostly filled by youth. Most of them had come leaving behind preparations for their mid-term examinations. They had waited for hours at the Tourism Council of Bhutan office for free tickets to the show. In less than two days, the organisers distributed more than 10,000 tickets.
The ground has a capacity of 5,000, including 500 for the VIPs. The stadium can accommodate about 10,000 people.
Five K–pop bands – Double Eight, Badkiz, Seven O’clok, Steller, Classy and Fresh Boyz enthralled the audience to the full even through Park Jea-Sang, popularly known as PSY, pulled out at the last moment.
The artists greeted in Dzongkha and Korean. The crowd went bererk.
A small gathering of youth was waiting patiently at the exit to catch a glimpse of the stars.
Many fans, especially the youth, jumped to PSY’s defence on the social media when he was mocked for pulling out of the concert.
As part of the celebrations of 30 years of diplomatic relations between Bhutan and the Republic of Korea, another free concert will be hosted in Thimphu in September.
The organiser from Korea apologised for PSY’s no show and assured that they would make every effort to bring him to the country next time.
Diplomatic relations between Bhutan and the Republic of Korea (RoK) was established on September 24, 1987.
Tshering Palden