Phuentsholing town and Pedestrian terminal to be open for 24 hours to boost local economy

A second smaller pedestrian terminal will come up too

The Indian side has agreed to Bhutan’s proposal to keep the Pedestrian terminal at Phuentsholing open for 24 hours so that Indian visitors can come and go at any time.

This will also allow Bhutanese people stuck across the border at late night to come back in.

Bhutan had wanted to keep both the pedestrian terminal and the main gate open for 24 hours initially, but the SSB on the Indian side did not allow movement after 11 pm with even Bhutanese getting stuck in Jaigaon.

During the meetings between the two sides at the local level when it came to the main gate the main issue came from the Indian Customs who were apprehensive that commercial goods could move in and out at late night, and that they did not have the manpower to have somebody present at late night.

This means the main gate will be open for vehicles as per the current timing of 11 pm only and will open in the morning at 6 am.

However, if any Bhutanese vehicle is about to be late beyond 11 pm due to unavoidable circumstances then they should get in touch with the Dungkhag administration or the RBP so that they in turn can inform the SSB and an exception can be made.

The talks were held between the Phuentsholing Dungkhag, RBP and Trade officials from the Bhutanese side and Jaigaon Development Authority, SSB and Customs officials from the Indian side.

The meeting also agreed to have a second Pedestrian gateway at the Sanglam gate area (Chinese Line) to ease the pressure on the current Pedestrian gate. The Bhutanese side will be undertaking a construction there for a smaller Pedestrian terminal.

The aim of Bhutan to have the pedestrian gate open for 24 hours is to improve the economy of border towns like Phuentsholing so that tourists and visitors from India can come in to enjoy the night markets and night life in Bhutan.

In the meantime, all business outlets in Phuentsholing are allowed to be open for 24 hours with no closure timings as a part of this. To ensure there are no security issues there are CCTV cameras all over the place and there will be enhanced patrolling.

Once the project works well in Phuentsholing it can be replicated in other border towns like Gelephu, Samdrupjongkhar, Samtse etc.

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