Thursday, July 8, 2010

The RAA report 2009 is flawed!

The audit report of Chukha Dzongkhag according to the latest report is based on the significance of the findings and more importantly, the recommendations made to mend and avoid further lapses. This however, is not true with regard to Tala Hydroelectric Power Authority (THPA).

“We are proud and grateful that Tala Hydro Power Authority (THPA) is one of the biggest projects ever in the country. It as well, so far, is the biggest revenue generator for the government. However, the audit report does not have any details,” the Opposition Leader, Lyonpo Tshering Tobgay said adding that
If the audit of the THPA as per the report was carried out to assess the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the management and share experiences from the pioneer of mega hydro project for the benefit of managing projects of similar magnitude in the future, “the question is how was the audit done without any numerical details on the report?” questioned a civil servant seeking anonymity.
Sangay Dorji, (name withheld) claims that he is related to THPA one way or the other and had read the report thoroughly said, “the report though might claim to have submitted the Detailed Project Report (DPR), however, on the report I don’t see any in black and white.”
The only positive thing in the report about the THPA audit as mentioned in the report is the finding by the Royal Audit Authority (RAA). And that being having successful at meeting the rising demand for power in India, which naturally means a good source of income for the country.
As pointed out in the report the “initial survey and investigations on geological parameters on which the DPR was premised was inadequate. This led to gross underestimation of Bill of Quantities (BoQ) causing substantial actual variations and execution of extra items enhancing the cost of the project.”
The Opposition leader pointed out in the Parliament how the cost of civil works had gone up by more than six times the original estimated cost.
The Opposition leader said that the penal clauses were hardly invoked on the contractors. “Such negligent practice could in the future influence other big upcoming hydro projects to follow the same practice as well,” he said.
“No recommendations is worthy if the audit report in the first placed is flawed because it lacks the details. And how could such a big project’s audit was not in detail just as other audit reports? This is a mysterious,” a senior civil servant said.

The Annual Audit Report 2009 was compiled from 609 audit reports issued during 2009. The total unresolved significant irregularities reported in the Annual Audit Report amounted to Nu. 348.34 million as compared to Nu. 151.00 million that was reported in the Annual Audit Report 2008.

The higher figure this year is mainly due to huge overdue advances in some of the agencies particularly under the Ministry of Education and Tourism Council of Bhutan. The RAA report justifies this saying that the advances in these two agencies pertained to major procurement and ongoing construction activities and that it was “attributable to the substantial increase in the number of reports issued during the year.”

Because the Annual Audit Report 2009 was expected to be comprehensively a significant unresolved findings detected during financial year most people I talked to yawned as they were approached.

Dasho Sonam Penjor the Member of Parliament and the Chairman of Public Account Committee agrees that the audit report “can be wrong sometimes” mainly because of the time factor. “By the time the agencies submit their report to the concerned authorities the deliberations would already have been done,” he said.

Particularly on the THPA matter the Chairman said that the discussion on it’s audit report will continue in the sixth session of the parliament. “We need to hear from RAA and THPA authorities to come to a conclusive audit report,” he said adding that the validity of the current report is questionable.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bhutan warmer and wetter

Meteorological data over the last six years show that Bhutan is becoming warmer.

The nationwide data maintained by meteorology section of the department of energy show an annual increase in temperature and rainfall. They show that, in the last six years, there has been an increasing trend in erratic precipitation and monsoon patterns across the country.

Weather forecast records throughout the country confirm climate change in Bhutan.

In the south, the maximum average temperature in Bhur, Sarpang, has risen from 27.08 degree Celsius in 2003 to 28.49 degree Celsius in 2008. In six years, Bhur has become warmer by 1.41 degree Celsius. The average minimum temperature, which was 17.8 degree Celsius in 2003, has shot up by 0.875 degree Celsius in 2008.
Over the past six years, Sarpang has recorded a rise in the volume of rainfall. In 2003, the dzongkhag received 1127 mm of rain which increased to 2422mm in 2008.

In the central part of the country, Bumthang has seen an increase in both average maximum and minimum temperatures in the last six years. Its average high increased from 17.03 degree Celsius to 17.66 degree Celsius and average low increased from 6.28 degree Celsius to 6.61 degree Celsius. On average, Bumthang too has experienced more rainfall over the years.

In the east, Trashigang recorded an increase of 0.89 degree Celsius in its maximum average temperature and 0.20 degree Celsius in its average minimum temperature with an increase of rainfall by 65 mm over six years.

In the western region, Thimphu recorded an inp1crease in both average maximum temperature and average minimum temperature along with an average increase in rainfall.

The time for snowfall in Thimphu has elapsed so it will not snow this year, according to the meteorology section.

The head of the section, Kinzang Sonam, said, “Neither the satellite pictures nor the data on wind direction, cloud density, humidity and temperature indicate the possibility of snow in Thimphu this year.”

Thimphu recorded an average maximum temperature of 20.35 degree Celsius in 2003 compared to 20.95 degree Celsius in 2008. The average minimum temperature of the dzongkhag also rose by 0.55 degree Celsius from 7.43 degree Celsius in 2003 to 7.98 degree Celsius in 2008. The capital also recorded a consistent increase in the volume of rainfall between 2003 and 2008.

Dasho Nado Rinchen, the Deputy Minister of the National Environment Commission (NEC), said, “Although countries like Bhutan contribute the least to global warming, they will be seriously affected by the impacts of climate change.”

According to Thinley Namgyal, the Project Manager for climate change at the NEC, “Our roads and other important infrastructure will suffer damages from landslides and flashfloods caused by climate change. Furthermore, the rapid melting of glaciers will dramatically increase the risk of glacial lake outburst floods besides affecting the base flow of our rivers.”

Farmers, who make up 79 percent of the population, will be directly affected by temperature changes and unpredictable monsoon patterns.

Thinley Wangchuk, a data analyst and a technician at the meteorological section, said, “Climate change such as increasing temperatures and changes in weather patterns may have been caused by increasing human population.”

Although population density at 12 persons per square kilometre is the lowest in south Asia, the growth rate of 2.53 percent is among the highest in the world.