Chogyal, a forester with the Paro Division, was awarded a certificate of appreciation and cash prize by the prime minister for his bravery and loyalty in the line of duty during the Annual Forestry Conference held recently in the capital
On April 23rd, 2014, Chogyal suffered injuries on duty and had to be hospitalised. The Paro Forestry Division received a tipoff on the possibility of a truck smuggling red sandalwood.
Eight forest officials were alerted and sent for further inspection and investigation. Officials got hold of the suspected truck and interrogated the driver, Gemba, who is also the owner, but he denied any wrongdoing.
The officials were did not have required tools to delve deeper through the sand load to authenticate their claims of sandalwood smuggling. The investigation team then decided to follow the truck at the unloading point, which was at Tenzingling School. The truck suddenly got struck in a drain and was unable to ply further. The forest officials then decided to dig into the sand at around 9 PM and accordingly found sandalwood packed in sacks.
Gemba who was heavily inebriated by then threatened the officials guarding the sandalwood. The officials dropped him at his home but he returned later at around 2 Am and started threatening the officials. Meanwhile the officials spotted three people digging the sand to shift the sandalwood.
When the officials tried to catch hold of the offenders they, along with Gemba, started pelting stones at the forest officials on duty and Chogyal was hit on the head. He was immediately hospitalized and the forest division sought help from the Royal Bhutan Police.
The Paro District court, after more than two years of studying the case, passed a verdict stating that there is deficiency of evidence to prove that Gemba is guilty. The ministry then appealed to high court and the miscreants were accordingly penalized.
Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, during the conference, said that such recognition is given to display that the Ministry provides full support to loyal and dedicated officials and they will always have the ministry’s assistance.
Chogyal said that although he didn’t risk his life to gain any recognition or any rewards, he is very grateful for the support given by the ministry.