Progress in road connectivity and ICT in the country

Presenting the progress on connectivity and ICT in the country Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay said that Bhutan now has air service agreements (ASA) with eight countries, with United Arab Emirates being the most recent, and the next month the country’s first-ever ICT College will begin at Gyelposhing with 81 students.

ICT will also receive a boost with the launch of South Asian Satellite and India has invited Bhutan to use the satellite free of cost. “Towards this end, the government has established Bhutan Computer Incident Response Team, which is a unit to monitor and respond to cyber attacks,” the PM said.

Connectivity

With the Gyalposhing to Nganglam highway to open very soon it will take only a few hours to reach Samdrupjongkhar from Mongar, which previously took two days.

Very soon it will be possible to reach Trashigang from Thimphu in just one day, via the lateral route, because of the up gradation of 385? kms Northern East-West Highway (NEWH) from Semtokha to Trashigang.

The 32 km road construction work from Dagapela to Dalbari has started and 11.36 km cut and permanent works of 2.5 km completed.

In the 2016-17 FY blacktopping of 163 km, base course of 323 km, permanent works of 254 kms and widening of 48 kms was completed according to the state of the nation report.

Last year the Lekpagang-Chhu Bazam in Gangzur gewog, Lhuntse and Tshelungney Bazam in Mewang gewog, Thimphu were completed.

The revised ASA with Myanmar will allow the operation of an additional route from Yangon- Singapore and other airports in Myanmar.

Paro International Airport has seen a major face-lift with the construction of a new arrival terminal at a cost Nu.341 million and with additional car parking.  Construction of a new cargo complex is ongoing and a parallel taxiway is underway.

The development of Yonphula Domestic Airport is ongoing at a cost of Nu.200 m to ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) standards.

Studies to construct helipads in the country. There are 10 identified areas across the country for 39 Helipads, 43 suitable landing grounds in case of emergency and 8 alternate locations suitable for helicopter operation.

Studies are also being undertaken for two dry ports. The mini dry port project in Phuentsholing will reduce traffic congestion and physical construction is expected to begin in May 2017.The dry port in Pasakha, Phuentsholing, will be pursued in the 12th Five Year Plan.

ICT

17 services related to trade licensing have been brought online under the G2C program in the country. These services have reduced administration burden and waiting time. Today, 107 critical services can be availed online through the G2C portal.

On the service delivery front, the report states that the national e-Payment Gateway Infrastructure at RMA premises has been established to enable inter-bank interoperability and to facilitate G2C service Payment.

Of five banks in the country three provide e-Payment gateway services the infrastructure for which was developed at a cost of Nu 15.63 m through GoI support.

The report states that the Nation has witnessed the successful rolling out of Google collaborative suits in all ten ministries, autonomous agencies and five SOEs. Out of 9000 G suite accounts, 96% of accounts are activated with 88% actively used.

They have implemented few under Druk Research and Education Network (DrukREN) Project; they have established Internet Exchange Point, established DrukREN Infrastructure Services and connected ten Colleges including OVC, RUB to DrukREN. Ten hospitals in Paro, Gedu, Phuentsholing, Punakha, Trongsa, Bumthang, Pemagatshel, Mongar, Kanglung and SamdrupJongkhar are connected to the DrukREN.

As of today, fiber optic cables connect all 20 Dzongkhags and 201 gewogs. The government will pursue pulling a fiber optic cable from Bangladesh as an alternative. A government data center has been established at Nu 120 m to enhance public service delivery and information security and also to expedite system deployment.

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