GUWAHATI: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday inaugurated an Indo-Bhutan border trade centre at Daranga under Baksa district of Assam on the India-Bhutan border.
The border trade centre has been constructed under the Assistance to States for Development of Export Infrastructure & Allied Activities (ASIDE) scheme of Government of India which provided over Rs 14 crore. The project was implemented by Assam Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (AIIDC). It was completed during the fiscal 2016-17.
“Indo-Bhutan Internal Border Trade Centre at Daranga is perceived from the perspective of not only to fulfil the commitment of co-operation made by India amongst SAARC nations, but also to promote sustainable economic exchange between India & Bhutan which prevails through interdependency of mountainous and plain regions.
“Bhutan being a mountainous nation is dependent on India for most essential commodities to support its population. In exchange, Bhutan not only has immense potential for generation of hydel power and mineral resources such as gypsum, limestone but also various forest products both timber and non timber in nature, horticulture produces, medicinal & aromatic plants and numerous handloom & handicraft products derived mainly from high altitude flora and fauna. It therefore becomes economically attractive for both nations to promote trade across the international border,” Sonowal said.
Among all the neighbours Assam has the longest border with Bhutan with multiple accesses points.
From the historic period, the Bhutanese kept their trade relation with the plains of Assam through the usual ‘duars’ (Gates) since long. There were nine such duars on Assam frontier of Bhutan. They were: Charduar (Chariduar), Kariapar, Buriguma, Kalling, Gharkola, Boksa, Chapaguri, Chapakhamar, and Bijni.
The objective of this Border Trade Centre is to promote sustainable growth of trade exchange and Trans-border economic enterprises which shall, in turn, promote peace and amity between the two nations which is continuing since time immemorial.
India’s investment in Bhutan is by far the highest amongst all nations. There is a considerable amount of business exchange is prevailed with Bhutan. In consideration of the changing economy of Bhutan, Indian interest in recovery of its investment and to develop a secured international border, India’s trade promotion with Bhutan is a must.
Major commodities of Import & Export through the Centre are:
Export from India: All essential items like food materials, LPG, Kerosene, petroleum Products including machineries & its accessories, meat, fish etc.
Import from Bhutan: Potato, Gypsum, Ferro-silicon, Oranges etc.
In the meantime centre had agreed in principle to construct a four lane highway of 264 km along Indo-Bhutan border encompassing four districts of Assam.