The chopper and much else

The much talked about helicopter service in the country is soon going to be a reality.

By the end of the next fiscal year, the country will boast two choppers and 40 helipads.

This would fulfil the promise of the government, whose inability to start the service, was even mocked in some quarters, whenever a chopper hovers around the city.  Given our rugged terrain and scattered settlement, a helicopter would come handy for search and rescue operations, a requirement stressed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

We have seen in the recent past how such a service had saved lives when helicopters provided air ambulance services or emergency medical evacuation.  Such a service should be looked beyond a political party just fulfilling a promise.

However, like we always say, it’s easier said than done.  There is more to starting a service than having two helicopters.  We need pilots, human resource in terms of oversight capability, to ensure that the choppers are up and running and everything goes right.  Training pilots and engineers takes up to two to three years.  Hiring professionals could be expensive and could make the service unviable.  We hope all these are planned.

Not to deride the government’s decision, democratised politics can pressure people to make quick decisions.  Therefore, planning and foresight have become more important than ever.

We have learnt lessons.

At the same meeting in Paro, the labour ministry had admitted that it was impossible to create full employment.  This was another promise the government made when they campaigned their way to the power.  Initially, they had said 100 percent employment.

The ministry is now realising that it takes more than them to create jobs.  It is true, without economic activity, there cannot be jobs created.  And it is a cross sectoral responsibility.

Politicians are bound, to a large extent, by what they promise.   They will be held accountable, as they are identified with their decisions.  Similarly voters will appreciate them for what they achieve when they go to the polls.

Plans like starting mega farms to increase meat and dairy production, power tillers to increase farm produce and address labour shortage, constructing and maintaining irrigation channels, electric fencing to save crops sound more realistic.

In prioritising our needs, some would argue that the cost of a helicopter could build more roads, construct more irrigation channels and buy more electric fences.  As a developing country, our needs are unlimited.  How we prioritise those is a skill in leading.

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