India to fund 11 new projects in Bhutan
By A Business Correspondent
Talks between the governments of India and Bhutan held last week have resulted in the approval of 11 new projects that the Government of India will fund during Bhutan's 9th Plan. These India-aided projects, estimated at more than Nu. 1,300 million, will take the total number of such projects to 70 during the 9th Plan.
According to Nima Wangdi, Director General of the Department of Debt and Aid Management, Government of Bhutan, the grant for the new projects emphasises on agriculture. For instance, India has agreed to support the development of a marketing system for agriculture products of farmers (Nu. 36.2 million) and another project envisaging the development of livestock, from rearing and production to marketing and certification of livestock products (Nu. 624.9 million).
Besides, India will also release Nu. 120 million for setting up a CT scan and MRI, and other modern medical equipment for the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital in Thimphu.
The Indian government will also finance the survey of the 45-km Gomphu-Panbang road. It will also consider the construction of a part of the road. Funding for the two-lane highway from Chunzom to Paro has also been approved. A new bridge, estimated at Nu. 8.00 million, will be built over Semtokhachhu on the Thimphu-Phuentsholing highway by DANTAK.
Other India-aided projects include the renovation of Bhutan's oldest dzong, Semtokha dzong (Nu. 107.7 million), establishment of a Youth Development Centre in Thimphu (Nu. 74.6 million) and the development of a town in Haa (Nu. 70.7 million).
India has also agreed, in principle, to the proposal for setting up a dry port in Phuentsholing and the feasibility study for building an international airport in Gelephu.
(10 January, 2005)