The whole nation celebrated the 40th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty The Fifth King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck on 21st February. Every dzongkhag started their day with a butter lamp offering followed by celebrations dedicated to His Majesty.
Changlimithang Stadium was filled with festive colors and activities to celebrate the 40th Birth Anniversary. The Prime Minister made various announcements dedicated to His Majesty The King.
Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering announced several programs that the government is going to initiate in the areas of economy, technology, education and health over the period of one year.
He said that 2020 is a historic year for Bhutan, as it is the year that His Majesty turned 40 and is a step into a new decade. He said, “This is also a year about preparation for Gyalsung initiative which is a noble initiative that originated from His Majesty The King.”
In addition, he said that this year is even more special as the whole nation waits with full excitement to welcome the second Royal Baby, as announced by His Majesty the King at the National Day celebration last year.
Lyonchhen said, “Starting today, until the next Birth Anniversary of His Majesty The King, we will celebrate and the celebration is based on His Majesty’s concern for the people and over his vision. We have, therefore, come up with various programs after forming a committee involving everyone.”
As for the economic guidelines for the 21st Century, Lyonchhen said that they are already working on it by conducting national meetings and committee meetings. “We have the plans to submit all the reports and studies within one year, and thereafter, we will start with the implementation,” he added.
He said good road connectivity helps to build a strong economy. Therefore, the north-south highways road construction is almost nearing its completion.
Haa-Samtse is nearing completion. Likewise, other economic roads are Bumthang-Trongsa via Zhemgang till Gelephu, Trashigang to Samdrupjongkhar and Mongar to Nanglam highways.
He said, “We also felt that, if we have road connectivity from Sherichu, Trashigang to Kuri Gongri Zomsa, it may complete the economic roads in the country. Therefore, we have decided to conduct a survey for the road construction between Sherichu and Kuri Gongri Zomsa.”
The government plans to relook the Thimphu township plan and see the possibility of making a new township plan along the Pa-chhu and Wang-chhu, starting from Thimphu Dodena till Drugyel Dzong, Paro.
He said, “If we can do that, we will be recognized globally, and it would add to our country, known as a GNH country. To see the possibility, we will start off with an area from Lungtenzampa till Chubachu this year.”
Digital education in all the schools will be started this year, he said, adding that advancement in technology field is a serious concern of His Majesty. Knowing the importance of digital education, technology and for better IT job opportunities, he said that they have a plan to come up with IT Park in Bondeyma under Mongar, similar to the IT Park in Thimphu.
He said, “We also have a plan to establish a second route for Internet connectivity from Bangladesh which will be brought in via Assam to Samdrupjongkhar. Knowing the importance, we will further enhance the institute for TVET/VTI graduates. We will come up with a Bhutan Institute of Technology in the country.”
In terms of health, Lyonchhen said that the plan is to bring down the number of patient referral to other countries to zero. For that matter, he said that within this year, the construction of a hospital with all the facilities, specialist and professionals is to be initiated.
Until the completion of the new hospital, he said, “We have a plan to transfer the patient (who needs to be referred to India for further treatment) in flights, as we felt that transportation via road causes inconvenience to the patients and attendants.”
In addition, he also said that, within 2020, they have a plan to establish kidney transplantation services in country. Likewise, there are other plans that they will be initiated in 2020.
He said, “We will keep the nation updated on the progress of our initiatives. Let us pledge, I want every individual to plant a tree and look after it, each family to adopt one stray dog and to manage waste. If we can do these three things, this can be our gift to His Majesty.”
A Class XI student, Basnat Gurung, said that it is overwhelming to see lots of opportunities coming up in the country, particularly in terms of technology. He said, “Though I may not be able to grasp this opportunity, it would benefit our future generation. I was super excited with Gyalsung program, and now hearing what Lyonchhen has announced, I am so happy and at ease.”
Similarly, a 43-year-old civil servant, Chimmi, shared that they got many good news to hear in recent times, announcement on second Royal Birth, Gyalsung program and now encouraging announcements from Lyonchhen.
She said that if whatever the Lyonchhen has announced turns out to be success then it would be the greatest achievement for the country, and this would bring in a lot of changes and Bhutan may be able to compete with developed countries.
She said, “What Lyonchhen has made us to pledge, I would do that and this would be my sincere gift for His Majesty. This is little thing we can do for the country and King, and these are doable, so I would definitely do them.”