Eas­ing trade move­ment

Southasia - - BRIEFINGS -

The Indo-Bhutan bi­lat­eral talks on trade and tran­sit were held in Thim­phu. The main is­sue dis­cussed by of­fi­cials of both coun­tries was a by­pass to Pas­sakha and Sam­drup Jongkhar in­dus­trial es­tates via In­dia. It was de­cided that the con­struc­tion of the by­pass should be ex­pe­dited as this would re­duce the trans­porta­tion cost and ease traf­fic con­ges­tion in the towns of Jaigaon and Phuntshol­ing. The Matanga in­dus­trial es­tate in Sam­drup Jongkhar is to be di­rectly con­nected to Boka­juli in As­sam with­out hav­ing to pass through the Sam­drup Jongkhar town. This route will also serve as an al­ter­na­tive tran­sit point be­tween In­dia and Bhutan and is ex­pected to ease trade be­tween the two coun­tries.

The Eco­nomic Af­fairs Sec­re­tary of Bhutan, Dasho Sonam Tsh­er­ing said that the project was de­layed be­cause the road passed through forests and pri­vate land in In­dia and clear­ing the land took a lot of time. An­other is­sue dis­cussed in the meet­ing was the trans­porta­tion of min­er­als. The In­dian del­e­ga­tion also asked the Bhutanese au­thor­i­ties to re­view the ban on the im­port of ve­hi­cles, al­co­hol and fur­ni­ture.

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