Easing trade movement
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.