How can public service providers and even businesses ensure that their services are not interrupted during times of disaster? This can be achieved by having a Business Continuity Plan. And this is exactly what Bhutan Telecom is trying to make government and private agencies aware of. The telecom company developed a Business Continuity Plan of its own in 2021 with the help of Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA.
Participants from Bhutan Power Corporation, TashiCell, the Government Technology Agency, the Department of Disaster Management, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, the Road Safety and Transport Authority, and other relevant stakeholders took part in the three-day workshop in Phuentsholing.
According to Bhutan Telecom’s Chief Executive Officer Karma Jurme, as a service provider, through the Business Continuity Plan, they ensure their services are available and reliable at all times. “It is not really being hundred percent sure that you can avoid disasters but it is like how best can you face disasters, how quickly can you bring the services back to operation, and how quickly can you make the recovery. So that is how the BCP will ensure that our services, even though affected during disasters, we make sure that we bring those services up and run at the quickest time possible.”
He added that a Business Continuity Plan is not only meant for telecom agencies but is necessary for all public and private agencies and organizations.
“It is not only for telecommunication services, whether it is telcos or non-telcos all other service providers even like BPC or even BBS, I think you would need to have something in place to ensure that you can carry out your services with minimum disruptions in times of disaster. Because I think BBS would also play a very important role in disasters. While BT would try to look at improving or recovering our services as soon as possible, BBS would also need to ensure that you bring your services back to normal,” he said.
As a part of the three-year project from 2018 to 2021 assisted by the JICA, Bhutan Telecom launched a Disaster Resilient Emergency Mobile Network at Bumthang in 2019. This is a replica of exactly the same equipment in Thimphu that provides Bhutan Telecom’s mobile network throughout the country. Having it means the country will not face a telecommunication blackout in case a major disaster damages the core mobile network systems in Thimphu. The Business Continuity Plan is developed along with the emergency mobile network in Bumthang through the project.
Man Bdr. Tamang, a General Manager with Bhutan Telecom said “having BCP implemented in BT is just to ensure that all these critical services are restored as quickly as possible ensuring the safety of the employee is the highest priority in Bhutan Telecom. This is the very reason why BT wanted to have this workshop conducted especially for other organizations because we can share our experiences and create awareness on the importance of BCP in their organizations.”
The participants welcomed the initiative.
Bhawana Chhetri, the Chief Urban Planner with the Department of Human Settlement under the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport says a Business Continuity Plan is “an integral part of our logistic preparedness. So for me, this workshop is very useful and I have learned a lot. And we are yet to implement our BCP. We do have a plan in place. But now from this workshop, I came to know how to implement it. So I take it back to my ministry and hopefully we will be able to implement it as well.”
Krishna Subba, the Chief Program Officer what JICA Bhutan Office said “BT should be a champion not only to implement the BCP within their organization but also to create awareness on the importance of BCP for other organizations, for both governmental as well as private organizations across the country. That’s why the JICA Bhutan office and Bhutan Telecom conducted this workshop.”
“Such workshops remind us to take care of our own safety measures while doing daily routine work. So in the middle of a very busy schedule, we tend to forget our own safety. Such workshops and programmes usually remind us to take safety measures in times of disaster. And with the normal routine works, it is very important that we also remind the impact that safety measures are very important,’’ said Tshering Dorji, who works as an engineer at TashiCell.
The workshop was conducted to create awareness and to assist service providers to develop and maintain effective Business Continuity Plans. This is to allow the service providers to be prepared in times of disasters and emergencies which could affect their services.
The workshop, which started on Monday, ended today with a mock evacuation drill.
Edited by Kipchu
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