Disaster relief

On 21st July, the Ambassador of India to Bhutan presented Nu 100 million to our government. The money, a gift from the government and people of India, was to carry out relief works of the damages caused by the May 26th floods.

Yesterday, the Ambassador of Thailand to Bhutan presented US$ 20,000 to our government, also to carry out relief works on the May 26th floods.

The gifts reflect the sympathy of these countries towards us, and underscore the friendship and goodwill that we enjoy with them. We must put their money to good use. And the best possible way to do this is to deposit the money in the Relief Fund.

Article 14 Section 12 of the Constitution requires that “Parliament shall establish a relief fund and the Druk Gyalpo shall have the prerogative to use this fund for urgent and unforeseen humanitarian relief.”

Parliament has not yet established the Relief Fund. Instead, the government has budgeted a mere Nu 20 million for “HM’s Relief Fund”. This is hardly enough. Consider that the May 26th floods alone were estimated to have cost our country Nu 720 million.

We will, no doubt, be hit by many more disasters, both natural and manmade. So obviously, we must prepare to provide effective urgent and unforeseen humanitarian relief. What better way to prepare than by establishing a strong and reliable Relief Fund?

And what better way to start than by depositing the gifts made by India and Thailand to the Relief Fund? Their generous contributions are, after all, meant for relief.

 

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Comments

  1. You do know that the gifts from India and Thailand are meant especially to support and restore damage caused by the recent flood and storm caused by cyclone Aila that hit Bhutan on May 26, don’t you? They didn’t give the money for any “relief” purpose. Use the money where they are expected to be used. It is as simple as that!!!

    • The governments first priority should be to establish a Drug related REHAB center and that too a good one. Does any one know that about 70 % of boys in any middle/high school students are on drugs. This may alarm many of you but ask any drug addict in schools and they will share with you. HOW CAN ANYONE TURN A BLIND EYE ON SUCH AN ISSUE THAT WE FACE. It is about our youth who are the future of our country. At this rate our country has no future. Some one somewhere ought to do something about this. Perhaps Hon’ OL can do something about it to warn the concerned authorities. ITS HIGH TIME SOMEONE ACTED ON THIS GRAVE SITUATION.

  2. The priorities for using the money in my view are are as follows:
    1. Repair/restoration of bridges and roads
    2. River bank protection
    3. Crop compensation and land management
    4. If any more money left, capacity buidling in rescue operations
    5. If more than needed is left, deposit in relief fund
    6. And if much more is left, give it to OL

  3. i think it was given to restore and reconstruct the important infrastructures like bridges, roads etc which were damaged by the recent cyclone….It wouldn’t be wise to deposit in relief fund account…Rather it should be used immediately to restore those vital infrastructures ….Gov should immediately disburse the money to the affected dzongkags and and start the work….

  4. LAUGHING GAS says:

    Hon’ble OL,

    Besides you and the Hon’ble PM, do other parliamentarians (including the ministers) others read the Constitution?

    Please respond honestly..

    • L-Gas: Our MPs have read the Constitution. And understand the sacred document. That’s why we’ve been told not to use the Constitution as a “manual”. That’s why the constant search for “broad interpretations”.

  5. Linda Wangmo says:

    Dear Sonam, Dear Shogun

    Both of you are wrong. I think in your own way, what you mean to say is that the money donated by outsiders should be used to build bridges and road affected by the flood. No.. no that money should not mixed up by with the governemnt budget. The government has enough fund to give CDG any why not use money from that for building bridges and roads and the work would be credited to our MPS. The money we get from outside should be kept in the relief fund and use it for the lives lost in other word use it for humantarian aid. The money came from the people of Thailand and the people of India and its for the people of Bhutan. not for reparing Bridges and Roads by unqualified contractors. I suggest OL to fight for it and put the Money in the HMs relif fund and His majestey knows what to do with the money.

    • Dear Linda Wangmo,
      You have no idea what you are talking about. I suggest you read the reason why those money were given to Bhutan in the first place. I am afraid your hatred/dislike for the ruling party or your excessive love for the opposition party is causing a cataract to inflect your eye lens.

      Those money were given to the government so that the damages caused by the cyclone can be restored to normal. What is so difficult in it to understand?

    • Linda Wangmo looks like she’s possessed by an evil spirit. she speaks as if roads and bridges are not for the welfare of the people.

      • And phuntsho thinks that once the money is in MH’s relief fund the money will not go to the people.

      • haha, sam. u make me laugh out loud.

        i never said money wont flow out from HM’s relief fund for the benefit of people. i trust and respect our kings as much as you do. even if everything fails, the sacred institution of monarchy shall never fail our people. i rest assured with this feeling everyday.

        however, for now, the donation has come because we have already had those disasters, natural calamities if we may choose to call them. if those natural calamities never struck our country, we wont have got those funds. therefore, we must spend those money for rebuilding those roads and bridges washed away during those natural calamities.

        deposit the funds into HM’s relief fund, in good times – if and when we are fortunate to receive such funds before the calamities strike us.

  6. Sonam, why do u insist on not putting the money in HMs relief fund, i’m sure His majesty knows what best to do with the money.

    Do u doubt His majesty?

    Are you so pro DPT that u forget our king.
    Remember when the unfortunate accident happened in chhuka His Majesty was the first to Help the Flood Victims. Were were our government then?

    And before u jump into conclusion no I’m not a PDP supporter nor a DPT supporter.
    I’m for monarchy and I know many would support me in that.

  7. What good does it serve when we have already lost several lives of innocent people, to be proactive aftermath of an event? Or are we waiting some more disasters to happen, some more lives to be lost and bear damages beyond repairable?

    Seriously, the May 26 flood should have been a wake-up call for our Disaster Management in preparedness of a tragic event like that happened to the seven helpless young students. In fact they were not helpless, but people who stared for nothing made them so.

    I am still waiting to see the investigation report, but looks it is not going to happen. No one is going to take actions. People will keep on dying, disaster will hit anytime, funds will never reach needy and our government, MPs, NCs and all will keep on doing nothing.

    Just wait and see, how many times disasters will strike we don’t know, but how far we are prepared we definitely know!!!

  8. The governments first priority should be to establish a Drug related REHAB center and that too a good one. Does any one know that about 70 % of boys in any middle/high school students are on drugs. This may alarm many of you but ask any drug addict in schools and they will share with you. HOW CAN ANYONE TURN A BLIND EYE ON SUCH AN ISSUE THAT WE FACE. It is about our youth who are the future of our country. At this rate our country has no future. Some one somewhere ought to do something about this. Perhaps Hon’ OL can do something about it to warn the concerned authorities. ITS HIGH TIME SOMEONE ACTED ON THIS GRAVE SITUATION.

  9. Linda Wangmo says:

    Dear Sonam and My Dear Phuntsho

    The money donated to us is just a Peanut from the people of India and Thailand. The money is and will not be ever enough for building bridges and roads so why not keep it aside as a relif fund which will be utilized by HM for a real good purpose. The bridges and roads should be rebuilt again by the government using other sourse of fund. And no I neither voted for DPT or PDP. an just a concerned Citizen and I in my own way would like to thank the OL for bringing this topic.

  10. Pro Linda says:

    I support Linda,

    Chances are that the money will go into buying land cruisers for ministers and bureaucrats.

    Better in HM Relief Fund.

  11. Dear OL

    I disagree with you on this one. The very premise on which you base your argument is wrong.

    As the Sovereign of this country, His Majesty may, I repeat He may decide to exercise his Royal prerogatives to undertake relief work – but its mandate is strictly in the domain of the elected government. Please do not confuse “Kidu” with routinal function such as the restoration of essential services that have been disrupted by natural or manmade calamities. Rebuilding of roads and bridges is not relief work. His Majesty need not be involved in that – it is the job and the responsibility of the government and the various departments under it. The scope of work involved is just too numerous and the monetary requirement is outside the scope of “relief” funds.

    Talking of the Nu. 20 million budgeted for “HM’s Relief Fund”, I think that is not a problem at all. If His Majesty needs more, He just has to ask for more – it is His for the taking. I can guarantee you that 99.99% of the people will support His Majesty in whatever He deems necessary for Him to do. I also know that Loenchhen JYT’s government will willingly submit to His Majesty’s wishes – should He find it expedient to impose His will on the government.

    It is unfair for you to say that the relief money received by the government should go into the relief fund of His Majesty. Such a requirement can be imposed on the government only if and when it is proven that the government is incapable of applying the money for which it is intended. As of now, DPT government has not failed to execute the relief work.

    Please revisit the issue once it is clear that the government is not doing what they are supposed to do. I will then support you. But for now, let us not take away from the government what is their just due. It is not proper and it is not helpful.

  12. all relief fund should be deposited in HM’s relief fund becasue HM was one to help common people. E.g. Chukha incident, Maukola life jacket was initiated our King.

  13. Kurtep Tenzin says:

    Give the money to our Hon’ble PM so that he can use it to build a spiritual tourism centre on his 33 acres land in Bumthang and rebuild the old Chhokor gyeb’s mansion near his land…airport in Bumthang?

    • wai tosa Kurtep Tenzin, that’s not how Kurtep’s are capable of thinking. Live up to Kurtep’s old fame, since the time of Dep Jigme Namgyel.

  14. Linda Wangmo says:

    If the money given to us is not used for His Majestys relief fund, Than there is no use of having the relief fund. Where will the funds come from. People should not forget that common poor Bhutanese are not helped by the Government. They are helped by our kings and queens. Ie Tarayana, YDF, HMs relief fund. I am Graduated not with the expense of the governemnt but I graduated with the help of scholarship from Tarayana. Its pointless to have a bridge and road right next to my parents home when they have nothing to eat.

  15. As we are now a democracy, technically it would not be right for it to be put into His Majesty’s relief fund and I am sure HM is aware of this more than anyone else. The bottom line is that the money should be used for the purpose it has been donated for, if this is done with full tranparency, there will be no reasons for anyone to complain.

    I trust the government to do the right thing with the funds received.

  16. Wang Dungyal says:

    I fully agree with Sonam. The money is for immediate disbursement to the relief work, a devastation caused by the Cyclone Alia. The money is not for starting relief fund please note. Actually we felt that by now the government have spent around 50% of the fund in the relief work but it seem it is still unused. We will appreciate and request the government to publish how the aid money is utilized in the relief work. Disclosing of this detail will be appreciated by the Government of India and the Thai government. On behalf of the Bhutanese citizen I would like to thank the government of India and Thailand for the generous relief aid given to the people of Bhutan who have been affected by the natural calamity.

  17. Blinda Wangmo,
    Please check with the Indian and Thai governments the reasons for giving the donations – it is not for OL and you but for the flood affected people of Bhutan. In any case, it is not for the likes of you, OL and Sam to decide where the donation goes. Do not try to speak for HM – if HM wants it used in any other way, He doesn’t need your advice.

  18. Dear OL – I enjoy reading your blog. Some of the issues you raise are, indeed, interesting, not to mention, thought provoking. But often, and no matter how hard you try to be subtle, I can’t help thinking that you are, somehow, trying to play up PM (and thus his democratically elected government) against the King.

    I feel that the King should be ABOVE all things, and must be kept that way, to preserve his Sanctity and maintain people’s immense love, loyalty and respect for the Sacred Institution. Pulling Him into, sometimes petty, issues, and out of some twisted loyalty to the Monarchy, or dislike for the ruling party, only belittles Him and go on to contaminate the sacred aura about our Kings. Don’t forget, we are a Constitutional Monarchy now. Nurturing the roots of our young democracy should be our main aim just as we are constantly and selflessly reminded by the King that we cannot afford to let democracy fail in Bhutan.

    Please, don’t get me wrong. I love my Kings. And I firmly, and truly, believe that K5 has the making of a great Bodhisattva King. All am saying is that He should be kept above all things. And that playing up PM against the King, just as some of the writers here indicate, could be detrimental to our democracy, and in the not too long run, to the stability of Bhutan. This is not a game.

    I for one believe that PM will never do anything that show disrespect to our King. At the same time PM also has the formidable responsibility to sow strong democratic roots in Bhutan as enshrined in the Constitution. That is never an easy task given the powers that exist. But I think he is doing a fine job. With much respect to OL.

  19. Linda Wangmo says:

    Shogun

    I did not say the money is for OL or me. I clearly said that its for the people of Bhutan.

  20. DRolo is the PM himself

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