28 October 2016, Thimphu: In an effort by the Department of Forest and Park Services to improve uniform code of conduct and arms handling, a group of forestry officials is currently undergoing a vigorous military training at Military Training Centre (MTC), Tencholing, Wangduephodrang.
A total of 28 officials consisting each from all parks and divisional offices commenced their training on 24th October 2016 and ends on 5th November 2016. Over the next two weeks, they will receive training on weapons handling, drill, proper wearing of uniform with complete paraphernalia, uniform discipline, do’s and don’s of uniform personnel.
At the inaugural ceremony on Monday, the Commandant of MTC said that army and foresters operate in the same kind of areas, in hostile and forested areas and face threats from the enemies. “Hence,” the Commandant said, “it is crucial; we train continuously to face challenges,” adding, it will enable them to fulfill the vision of His Majesty the King.
Representing the Department, Gyeltshen Dukpa, Chief Forestry Officer of Thimphu Division shared that this group of officials, after the training will go back and guide, oversee and monitor proper uniform codes of conduct in respective parks and divisions. “You all must learn well and impart the knowledge and skills to your colleagues,” he advised.
According to department official, Galey Wangchuk, department regrettably has been experiencing deterioration in uniform code of conduct. “We received public criticism on non-compliance to uniform code of conduct and has been under public scanner,” said Galey.
Having established way back in 1952, DoFPS was one of the oldest Departments in the country with its initial headquarters in Samtse. With no trained Bhutanese foresters at that time, the Department was run by civil authorities and Indian Foresters on deputation. Record with the department mentioned that, “Foresters from India had a strong presence in the Department till the mid 1970s and this may have been the basis for initiating the uniform concept within the Department.”
Further, the record revealed that the type of uniform and award of ranks (Gosa) to Forest Rangers and below was formally approved by the 4th Druk Gyalpo on 2nd of August 1985. The duties of foresters primarily involve enforcement and the handling of fire arms, hence, a uniform was felt necessary to maintain discipline within the ranks. Besides, uniforms make a strong appeal to self esteem and instill camaraderie ship among foresters, resulting in creating a congenial working environment.
Hence, the Department has been spending exorbitant resources annually in procuring good quality material for uniforms and other related items. However, the department noted that there lacks consistency in the field primarily attributed invariably to the changes in the uniform that had occurred with the changes in perception of changing management of ‘how a uniform should look?’ This is further compounded with the field discipline in dress code being relaxed in various field offices. The transformation of the country to a constitutional monarchy coupled with the government prerogative of rapid modernization and the challenges associated therewith necessitates the Department to take measures to amicably address these issues. Hence, as the first step, the department is standardizing the uniform system with proper code of conduct.
Reported by: Ugyen Tshering, ICS
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