In 2008 the then PHPA MD convinced the cabinet to shift the P-1 dam location to the current site which in all eventuality will now have to be abandoned with billions in losses.
Nobody thought to ask if adequate studies had been done on the new site. Bhutanese hydro officials and technical experts down the line did not raise any alarm bells.
The alarm bells did not go off even in 2009 when initial studies showed a weakness on the right bank and instead of waiting for the detailed study we let the lead consultant WAPCOS bid out the dam. This is despite having adequate Bhutanese representation in the project at all levels.
We are now paying the price as we hold billions in wasted loans that even our children and grandchildren will have to bear.
Similarly, in the high profile criminal conspiracy case it is shocking to see how senior officials fell for a simple ruse and did not bother to verify or countercheck what was being fed to them.
We love to call ourselves an oral society but if an actual fact check is done then a lot of what is floating around would be just plain rumors and unverified information at best or motivated and malicious gossip at worst.
There is a general proclivity in Bhutan to take people for their word and not do due vetting, background checks and research. This enables a lot of rubbish to grow wings to fly.
Bhutan can no longer go by this outdated norm of an earlier time where the word of a trusted elder or an acquaintance in a small tight knit community is good enough.
In this day and age, as we take our step in a global platform and make important decisions everyday, even written words and reports must be subject to verification and checks.
We must learn to build a culture of fact checks and vetting and also build the courage to call out lies and false information and not leave it as someone else’s problem. The cost in the end has to be borne by us all.
Truth for us is simply a collective name for verification processes