Skip to main content

Town-planning a threat to our food security?

Kuensel Article
I was going through today's edition of Kuensel (August 1, 2014). And an article by Tempa Wangdi particularly caught my attention. What a good news to begin the month, I thought. 

Some farmers in Trongsa are saying 'No' to town planning. They fear that they will have nothing at the end to hand over to their children. And that will be the end of their ancestral properties. But that's not all - I think - it poses a serious threat to our food security. How on earth can we achieve food self-sufficiency when we keep building houses and big structures in places that were once preserved for agricultural purposes?

I don't understand this thing. On one hand we insist on our policy of food security and other we build houses and turn fertile lands into towns. This is quite intriguing. In some countries, fertile lands are used for agricultural purposes and it is only here in Bhutan that we submit them to developmental activities. Thimphu Expressway is the best example of how we lose our agricultural land to the forces of modernization. That stretch was paddy field when I first visited Thimphu as a kid. But today it plays host to the highway and hundreds of buildings. 

In rush to have road connectivity our people back home in the villages sign on every document. If a road can come to their villages, nothing can matter. And as a result many paddy fields are bulldozed. Many maize fields are flattened. I don't know how many sogshings and fruit trees would yield that way. In most of the villages, compensation was not even mentioned. But people are happy anyway - all they want is road and any attempt to object to that decision to bring road is seen as a black sheep in the villages. At this rate, we can never do away with import of rice and other food items from our neighbors. Then our policymakers talk at length on how we are going through what they call INR crisis and what its implications are. Such are the voices of experts!  

But I am happy. Now our people are fast maturing. Trongsa incident exhibits that signs. Now they understand the implication of submitting everything to the forces of development. It also means that they now understand the need to preserve the fertile lands for agricultural purpose. And I am equally fascinated by some villagers in the same Dzongkhag (in a separate news report by BBS) requesting to opt out of Trongsa Throm because they have to pay urban taxes while still living fairly a rural life. 



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Alive and kicking

This feels like ages since I last posted anything here. That shows how inactive I have become on my blog. It is such a pain to let it go empty, day after day. And I am sure that all bloggers share the same sentiments.

I have attempted to blog about something for a long time now, only to find myself failing to do so. Maybe that is my laziness. But sometimes, there is nothing new or interesting to blog about. Topics are crucial. As far as my idea of blogging goes, a post cannot be a mere record of personal events - everyday affairs - although there can be blogs about such topics and interests. For example, the one I am writing now - has nothing about anything in particular,  besides citing some personal excuses.

Bhutan is going through yet another interesting era in that we have just had our third parliamentary elections and the new government is in place. I take this opportunity to welcome the new government and a new set of cabinet members, the speaker of the National Assembly and th…

Our throw-it-away culture

Like all grandparents, my late grandma would call food 'tsampa rimpoche' and any fuss made about it would invite everyone's sneer and scoldings. Food is always treated with respect and is never wasted. "If you waste food in any manner," she would admonish us. "One day food will discard you and you will go hungry." 
What remained from the previous meal would be turned either into porridge or sometimes leftover rice would be dried in the sun. The dried rice would then be fried into puffed rice and consumed with cups of suja. When there was so much food left, especially during big events, leftover rice or kharang would be mixed with a small amount of yeast and brewed into ara.  
The only thing that I can vividly recollect from my primary school days is how we would be hungry most of the time. Food we were served was hardly enough to tickle our throats. We would be sent home only once a week on Saturdays and that was our opportunity to replenish our popcorn s…

Utpal Academy - Bhutan's first All-girls High School

Welcome to Bhutan’s first all-girls school. Isn’t that wonderful news to all our parents? Certainly, as a parent of a one-year old daughter I am excited about the coming of a school exclusively dedicated to the needs of girls. Our girls need special treatment, which we can for sure entrust the responsibility to Utal Academy, Paro.
I really like the name – Utpal – in Buddhist world, Utpal is another name for lotus flower, which is believed to grow from mud and yet blossoms into a beautiful and majestic flower. It stands for purity and many deities are depicted holding flower Utpal, more prominently Jestusn Dolma, the Goddess Tara. Symbolically, it also stands for the transformation of our girls. What an apt name for the school!
The Principal’s message posted on the academy’s website promises providing our young women an “opportunity to participate fully in a wide range of extracurricular activities to develop skills and qualities that will lead to successful and fulfilling life.” That’s…