Phub Dem | Paro

As a gateway to the country, Paro dzongkhag is still struggling to finalise standard signboards and billboards.

Four years ago, the dzongkhag tshogdu (DT), the highest decision making body in the dzongkhag discussed the issue of signboards and resolved to write to the Ministry of Work and Human Settlement.

However, the issue remained the same.

The DT recently resolved to communicate with relevant stakeholders to implement a system that will ensure appropriate use of the national language for signboards in the dzongkhag.

Local government representatives were of the view that Dzongkha spellings and grammar on signboards, including the commercial ones, were not consistent.

District culture officer of Paro, Sangay Dorji, said that there were notable spellings and grammar errors on the signboards. With major errors, he said people were coining new words.

Although there were some English titles that could be easily translated, he said that many do not do that. “If we ignore this problem and do not rectify it at the earliest, it could be a bigger problem later,” he said.

A member said that titles such as ‘Dhaba’ (local eateries in Hindi) were borrowed. He said that there were other decent local titles that could replace the word.

Shaba gup Chencho Gyeltshen said that while many commercial units have roughly translated Dzongkha titles, some do not have Dzongkha titles.

He said that Dzongkha Development Commission (DDC) should play a vital role in rectifying such errors.

Besides, some members pointed out that signboard blunders were one of the key reasons for declining national language.

The discussion called on agencies such as the department of trade (DOT) and DDC to ensure the use of uniform national language on billboards, roadside signs, and commercial advertisements.

Members said that DOT while issuing trade licenses could ensure correct spellings and appropriate words. Similarly, DDC can guide translations and spellings for the signboards.

The DT will also write to the National Assembly among other agencies.

Mangmi of Dogar gewog, Kinley Penjor said that there were no proper guidelines to regulate the use of standard appellations.

Citing the example of the Road Safety and Transport Authority, he said the vehicle registration rule demands a uniform standard in terms of size and colour for a vehicle registration plates.  “Such concept should apply for signboards of commercial units,” he said. He added that standard signboards could be easily monitored considering a mandatory inspection during the renewal of trade licenses annually.

The resolution to write to the relevant stakeholders was in line with the Local Government Act. The Act states that the DT in line with its regulatory powers and functions shall regulate posting of billboards, roadside signs, posters, banners and other commercial advertisements to ensure preservation and enhancement of scenic and aesthetic beauty.