Neten Dorji

Kangpar—For years, the residents of Kangpar, a remote village in Trashigang, lacked access to television. They still depend on the radio and local leaders to stay informed about events beyond their village borders.

Of the 15 gewogs in Trashigang, Kangpar is the only one without TV connection. People here use Dish TV.

However, the dzongkhag administration has issued a letter to all the gup to remove Dish TV.

“The picture quality from the Dish TV is better. We receive news related to the country and government decisions promptly,”said Melam Dorji, a resident. “But, we are worried upon hearing news about being asked to stop using Dish TV.

He said that people paid about Nu 6,000 for the installation of Dish TV.

Another resident, Karma Phuntsho, expressed concern about the potential problem they could face if they were not allowed to use Dish TV.

“It’s been almost three years since we were informed about the possibility of getting a cable connection. We attended the meeting, but since then, we haven’t heard anything further. As a result, we still don’t have a cable connection and continue to rely on Dish TV,” he added.

A farmer, Tashi Wangdi, said that the villagers did not have cable services in the gewog. “If we are to use the cable service, we have to pay the monthly charges whether we watch TV. Moreover, it is expensive for us.”

Tashi Wangdi explained, citing examples of unreliable services in other gewogs.

A resident of Khaling Gewog said that Dish TV was more reliable than cable services.

“Most of the cable service providers fail to provide us services. The service are unreliable at best. That is why I am using Dish TV even though we have cable services,” he said, adding that cable service should be improved.

Dish TV users have said that as long as the television channels are clear and reliable, they do not mind using cable services.

“The Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority must hold cable service providers accountable for failing to provide reliable services, given that we pay monthly fees,” said a resident who switched from cable to Dish TV in Udzorong. “Most of the time, the channel services they offer are blurry and unreliable.”

The Trashigang Dzongkhag Entertainment Committee issued letters to gups to inspect and disallow the use of Dish TV in their respective gewogs as it is against the policy of the Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority.

“If they don’t adhere to the announcement, we will take action as per the Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority Act,” it states.

Trashigang dzongdag, Ugyen Dorji, clarified that the gups were instructed to disallow Dish TV where cable services are available.

“We circulated the order,after we received verbal complaints from a few cable operators regarding the illegal use of Dish TV in areas with cable television connections,” said the dzongdag.  “Moreover, it is the responsibility of cable service providers to provide reliable services to the people.”