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Government to set up first integrated check-post between Phuentshogling and Jaigaon

To allow for smooth transit of goods between Bhutan and India, the two countries have agreed to set up the first integrated check post between Phuentshogling and Jaigaon. This was announced by the foreign affairs and external trade minister, Dr Tandi Dorji, during the meet the press session, yesterday. Subsequently, the government will also set up similar check-posts in Gelephu, Samdrup Jongkhar, and Samtse. According to the minister, the government has requested additional routes on the Indian highways to minimize problems faced by Bhutanese exporters and truckers.  

The foreign minister said there were so many formal and informal trade routes and highways that were not notified by the Government of India, which gives a lot of problems.

Therefore a team from Bhutan visited all the highways in Indian that Bhutanese use for trade to India and Bangladesh.

The ministry is in the process of formalising the exit and entry points for trade with India along the southern border.

He added that unlike Nepal, which has three, Bhutan does not have a single integrated check post with India.

“So, these integrated check posts will allow the smooth transit of goods between our two countries and towards that India and Bhutan we have agreed and we are going to set up the first integrated check posting in between Phuentshogling and Jaigaon because that is our biggest hub.”

Similarly, the ministry has also requested for additional routes on highways to the Government of India to reduce problems related to Suvidha App and informal taxes, which is collected on Indian highways.

The Suvidha App is a web-based system started by the West Bengal government to make it easier for Bhutanese truckers to get clearance and smooth movement of vehicles through various integrated checkpoints on the Indo-Bangladesh border.

“We have also requested to use the Chillahati-Haldibari rail road that is very close to Samtse. If they allow us to use that railway road then all our exporters can use that and it will minus the problem with the Suvidha App and minus the gunda tax that takes place along the highways. So, that our truckers will not face problems if we use the railway road,” added Dr Tandi Dorji.

According to the minister, with the transi+t agreement with Bangladesh signed, the government is looking at additional trade routes to Bangladesh if the railway between Kokrajhar in Assam and Gelephu is connected. He added that the Kokrajhar railway is directly connected to Bangladesh.

Karma Wangdi

Edited by Sherub Dorji