Poor awareness on the importance of standards

BSB: The level of awareness among Bhutanese on the need for standards and the importance of using certified products are poor, according to Bhutan Standards Bureau (BSB) officials.

To ensure that certified products are used, those preparing tender documents should include that it’s mandatory for bidders to use brands that are BSB approved.

As BSB joins the globe in observing the World Standards Day today, officials said that awareness on existence of the bureau itself is poor let alone the standards.

Head of BSB’s standardization division, Dil Rajan Chhetri said, standardization is a voluntary cooperation among industry, consumers, public authorities, researchers and other interested parties for the development of technical specification based on consensus.

“There are about less than 30 percent of Bhutanese who care and know about standards, which is not a good indication,” he said. “Benefits of standards can only be reaped with support from people and agencies.”

A press release from BSB states that to gain access to global markets and value for products, a national standards body should standardize the product. Doing so will facilitate trade by removing trade barriers arising from standards issues.

BSB has developed about 130 national standards to date.

However, despite an existence of numerous micro, small and medium enterprises in the country, barely anyone has come forward seeking BSB’s assistance in developing standards, Dil Rajan Chhetri said.

Officials however pointed out that BSB’s role is limited to the development of standards, and that regulatory authorities are responsible in monitoring how far the standards have been maintained.

“While it is compulsory for government sectors to comply with national standards, standards compliance in private sector is difficult,” Dil Rajan Chhetri said.

He cited short circuit could be an example of not using branded electric cables in homes and other structures.

Dil Rajan said Bhutanese should start asking for certified brands of products for consumption in Bhutan. A latest list of BSB certified brand of products for civil engineering, electrical and mechanical are available on the bureau’s website.

To enhance standardization process and learn from international experiences, BSB has established link with several National and  International standards bodies in the region and the world. Bilateral co-operational Agreement with Bureau of Indian Standards has also been signed.  BSB also signed Memorandum of Understanding with Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute and ASTM International, USA.

Meanwhile, in the last four years, the bureau’s metrology and laboratory services division has generated a revenue of Nu 4,170,368 by testing various construction materials such as cements, steel and steel components, concrete building blocks, soil and bitumen among others.

Nirmala Pokhrel

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