Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Suspension and Termination the ugly and the unfair happenings.

I know that suspension is harrowing and and termination from service is an extreme measure . But in the name of Palden Drukpa,  Bhutanese Authority must appear to be fair in public. 

Right now, Bhutan has one law but not applied uniformly. It is no longer a perception that some are privileged above laws. This is really the norm and has become the practice. 

My thoughts:

1. Suspension should not be mandatory but it is absolutely necessary when investigating an official whose official position can influence the investigation process by way of proximity to witnesses or have opportunity to  tamper with evidence or manipulate records.  The official should be restricted from coming to office or carrying out his normal official responsibilities. But full basic salary should be paid during such necessary suspension. Not 50% of the basic. 

2. Once the investigation is completed, suspension order should be withdrawn. The official should be called back to work immediately upon the completion of the investigation.  

3. If  convicted by the Trial Court ( Lower Court ) then suspension  should be reinstated immediately from the date of conviction  and without any salary benefit. Why pay a convict?   

4. If conviction is upheld by Appeal Courts, then the convict should be relieved from the service with retrospective effect from the date of the conviction by the Lower Court. 

5. When being relieved from service, service benefits should be paid in full till the date of conviction by the Lower Court ( Trial Court ). Denial of further service opportunity should suffice for penalty from the employing Agency. All other penalties would be covered in the guilty verdict issued by the Court. Presently civil servants are penalised twice for one crime. 

6. If  Appeal Court overturns the Lower Court's guilty verdict, then the concerned official should be reinstated to official position immediately and all salary dues of past months of suspension paid in full. 

Today in Bhutan there are different application of Law/ Regulations varying upon the social and political position of an accused official. 

a) For some officials with social connection and with governing Political Party backings, the relevant provisions of the  Laws and Regulationa are suspended. Not the affected officials.

b) For Officials without social connections and with no  backings from political Party in governance, the provisions of the  Laws and Regulations are activated and the Officials are suspended and even terminated from service without any service benefits.

And these cases of blatant parliality and and uneven applications of Laws, Rules and Regulations are taking place in broad daylight and in full public view. Every Institution is aware of what is going on. 

Thus Bhutan is one tiny nation where power corruption is  huge and openly endorsed in the manner of competitive sports. There is no shame and no morality and definitely no sense of accountability.  

In the recent Trongsa Land case convictions, the sentences of imprisonment was passed for all guilty defendants. But defendants were not arrested and imprisoned. As per prevailing practice since the 2013 Supreme Court Order, all those  convicted to prison sentences are handed over to Police custody immediately upon passing the sentence by the Trial Court. But that did not happen this time. Under prevailing judicial practice,  bail is granted only by the Appeal Court after the Preliminary  Appeal Hearing. However, this time the convicts were allowed to walk free from Trongsa Court. And ignorant Media was all so silent ( Kuensel, BBS tv and The Bhutanese ). And all the Institutions acted in the manner that " all are rotten in the State of Demmark " and one such case is not an exception in Bhutan.   

By the way this judicial magnamity shown by Trongsa Court in not enforcing its own verdict had nothing to do with the main accused former Dzongdag Lhab Dorji. I believe he was not aware why Trongsa Court did not have the convicted people arrested if such was the ongoing judicial procedure. ( this clarification is for those who might assume that " former Dzongdag is too powerful". I have read such views before ).

The common people maybe wondering how come all these blatant power corruptions take place right out in the open public space.  Are democratic institutions like the Cabinet and Autonomous institution like the Royal Civil Service Commission and Judicial Courts more powerful than the Throne? I do not think so. But what stops a People's King from ensuring uniform and equal application of Laws and Rules and Regulations? Perhaps His Majesty is restrained by the necessity to preserve and respect " the Principle of Democracy ".  If His Majesty tries to set aright all the blatant wrongs, it could be construed that "Absolute Monarchy " is back. Recall that during Absolute Monarchy Reign, even red and orange scarf Officials were sent to prison once convicted.

Hereatfer, I hope that the Prime Minister, the  Chief Justice and the Chairpersons of Constitutional Bodies especially ACC and RCSC upholds the resposibility and 
collectively find the courage and will to apply same conditions and procedures  to all the people of Bhutan. If those  convicted by the Trial Courts are to be allowed to continue in service as Ministers or Civil Servants and for commoners to be free not imprisoned till Appeal processes are completed in full, then make such a right entitled by all Bhutanese not just few privileged officials. 
Bhutanese subjects of the same King should enjoy equal rights as enshrined in the Constitution.

Monday, November 18, 2019

India Loan financed flagship projects poses economic bleakness in Bhutan.

1. How did PHA I and II  mega hydroprojects fail. 

a) At PHA I,  the project killer is the sliding hill side. What causes hill sides to slide. Maybe someone should study the impact of continuous blasting of the hill base with high exlposives for long period of time. 

I know that there was suspicion of structures of ridge topTrongsa Dzong suffering damage from Mangdechu hydro project blastings. If that is true then hillsides of PHA I could also have been weakened by continuous high explosive blasting at the base of the hill. 

b) At PHA II, the project killer is the existence of a deep gorge like cavity over which a tunnel to carry water is aligned. Was it not possible to discover the existence of such a big cavity through some geo-infra- ray  techniques?  Something like dentist taking x'ray of a tooth and discovering cavity. Or maybe the cavity was a foreknown thing. 

Anyway the sliding hill side and deep cavity may very well kill Bhutan's economic prospects and our national self reliance dream. 

2. Dungsum Cement Plant, too,  was funded from loans mostly from India. It was cleared together with Tala Hydro Project by both Bhutan and Indian Governments.  The market for Dungsum cement Plant was projected to be the North Eastern States of India. But the project was delayed long enough to give time to those Indian NE States to increase their own cement production capacity. Thus today if not for Bhutan's own hydro project constructions, DCCL does not even have any assurred export market in India. And worse the teething  problems at the Plant built by Indian Companies are so disruptive that at times,  DCCL cannot even produce adequate supplies to meet internal demands. Ofcourse bad management, too , contribute to DCCL wooes. Dungsum cement plant has a very bleak future. Forget generating revenue for the Governmrnt, it is not even at break even point after several years of the  commissioning of the plant. 

Bhutan is saddled with 3 huge black hole projects PHA I& II and Dungsum that traps Bhutan in deep debt and far away from self reliance. 

Actually I think it makes good geo-political sense for India to keep dangling hopes and than dash it. That way Bhutan cannot get out of India dependence hang man noose. If I was India, I would promote joint mega projects with stated economic goals to help Bhutan. And then sabotage all such  India- Bhutan projects to defeat self reliance goal of Bhutan. Little Bhutan can get fisty if self reliant. 

3) Mangdechu Hydro Project is one India- Bhutan project recently commissioned. And the little smile on the countenance of Bhutanese economy is disappearing with phrases like " teething problems stopping electricity production is natural and expected at newly commissioned hydro projects". 

Well new Mangdechu hydroproject has " expected teething problems "  and old Chukha hydroproject naturally needs major repairs. So production is hampered at both the hydro Projects. Do not despair yet Bhutan democratic III govt.,  there is more to come.

3. Tawang to Trashigang motor road.

The first prolosal was made by Arunachal Chief Minister during early years of PDP governance. B4B!  My God what was Bhutan thinking in adopting Indian PM Modiji slogan. Fortunately that time, there was no takers for a highway from Tawang. The 2nd more recent call was made this year again by the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh during a meeting with Bhutanese Consul General ( Sell out General ? ).

Some Bhutanese travel operators and innocent businessmen of the East got exicited a little. Yes the idea is sinking in. Reminds me of Lama Drukpa Kuenlay's Saying " Insist sufficiently and consent will be granted ". 

Well Southern Bhutan Highway was discouraged because that would have strengthened internal security of whole of  Bhutan. But Tawang-to-Trashigang highway can facilitate the division of East Bhutan from the West. Afterall it was not outside nations calling Eastern Bhutanese followers of " traitor DPT Party ". We Bhutanese people and our political leaders have been branding political Parties and voters as pro- King and anti- King. If we promote division among ourselves by  region and race , then why would not an outside force assist in the physical separation of the nation? 

Thank you and No Thank you economic dilemma. Not a cruel stab in the back. But a gentle gradual dark kiss of death. Such is the stealth that the Bhutanese Caesar cannot even say " even you Brutus" B4B. Well I think Caesar is as much to blame for trusting Brutus. 

Lama Kheno. Please Palden Drukpa look after Druk Yul. And make our leaders bravely wise. 

Friday, November 15, 2019

The high profile Trongsa Land Case.

A nation can be sold out if the tsokpas ( community representatives) , Gups (head of  local governments ), Dzongda of the Dzongkhag ( Representative of HM the King  and Central Govt.), the Land Record Officer (NLC representative in Dzongkhag ) and the Drangpon of the Dzongkhag Court ( Judiciary ) colluded together  and got backing of a Political Party in governance. 

When an aggrieved Party initially  filed the case, the  case was dismissed by Trongsa Court and again rejected by OAG for prosecution even after ACC completed the investigation and asked OAG for prosecution. I recall OAG tried at all levels including through Media to obstruct ACC from filing the case at Trongsa Court. The Attorney General is appointed by the Prime Minister thus servient to the bidding of the Prime Minister. It was during PM Tshering Tobgay's time. 

The case has been adjudicated at Trongsa Court under a different Drangpon Dasho  Ugyen Tshering. A very capable and absolutely hard working judge. This Dasho Drangpon studies the cases throughly and professionally. And is intellegently sharp. Also considerate in the comprehension of human imperfectness. I hope the Drangpon does not get sidelined for his professionslism. Good and dedicated servants of the Law or in Civil Service  can be sidelined or by- passed in promotion   by forces of corrupt authorities. 

With the concurrent sentencing ( humane consideration on possible legal ground), it looks like all possible judicial considerations have been accorded to the guilty people by the Trongsa Court.  Therefore, an appeal to High Court may not reduce the sentences let alone change the verdict. 

If the appeal reaches the Supreme Court, the Highghest Court in the Land  might even look into the angle of a Dzongda   betraying the trust and confidence of the King and a former Drangpon betraying the trust and ethics of Judiciary and thereby decide to over rule the " concurrent sentencing ".  Instead of looking after people's welfare, the Dzongda has been proven to rob the people to gain wealth for his family. And a Drangpon instead of fostering justice was promoting and defending criminal deeds. 

I think we the common people owe much thanks to BBS in this Particular case. I recall a BBS journalist interviewing the aggrieved lady from Trongsa whose land was forcefully taken away under the pretext of national need priority. And later she found that her land was actually transferred to the wife of the Dzongda. When I saw that interview on BBS TV, I wondered if  Royal Secretariat would intervene. Afterall, Land issue is a Royal matter including grant of substitute land or taking away of private land for national priority needs. That did not happen. But looks like that BBS interview paved the way for the aggrieved Party to seek ACC intervention. Kudos to ACC. 

Corruption and social aggression can be rampant in a nation if and when the powerful collude and responsible check mate/ look out Agencies or Authorities practise hands off stand. 

Personally, I am sorry that a fellow Haap was so vicious in his pursuit of other people's land. And even more sorry that our nation have many in authority  who agree and endorse such ways and did much to obstruct justice and legalise wrong doings.  

When there is " Law and King " ( two bodies of Law ), justice must be allowed to triump in a constitutional monarchy nation. And justice should be served in full. Not partially. The criminals have been punished. But what about the solace to the  victims? In this case, the original land owners should be re- granted their land. The land substitute already given should be treated as compensation for punitive damages caused.  For all the losses, sleepless nights and hopeless days, the never ending  torments, anguish and the shock of uprootment from traditional home and social community that the Law of the Land and National Authority failed to prevent. The Trongsa Court has no  power to re-grant what is now government land. But the NLC and the Government could seek Royal Grant of the forcefully taken land to the original.owners. I wish the Court judgement had mentioned that along with its appeal for purchase by appropriate Agencies the " resort built by the Dzongda's wife " on the land that originally did not belong to the government. It belonged to a lady by the name of Gyalmo. 

If the lands illegally and forcefully taken possession by Dzongda and his wife are   not re-granted to the original owners after this Court Verdict, then victims remain victims. There is no social justice.  And legal justice is incomplete. There is no heart of  compassion and no material compensation for victims of unscrupulous Officials appointed by the Government and His Majesty the King. The Royal Secretariat/ NLC and the Government has a sacred responsibility to reset to original status the aggrieved familiies who were illegally uprooted by the Dzongda. Lhab Dorji without the power and status of Dzongda could not have uprooted the victims from their inherited home and land. Thus the authorities that appointed him must undo the harm and damages he had caused from his official position.