In a move to bolster connectivity between Assam and Bhutan, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma convened a meeting on November 16, 2023, with officials from the Public Works Department (PWD) and other concerned authorities. The purpose of the meeting was to assess the current state of highways and roads connecting the two regions and to issue directives for their maintenance and repair.
Emphasizing the pivotal role of well-maintained roads in promoting tourism and fostering economic growth on both sides, Chief Minister Sarma underlined the need to bring these thoroughfares to their best condition. The directive aligns with the broader vision of enhancing connectivity to facilitate seamless travel and trade between Assam and Bhutan.
This initiative comes on the heels of a significant development announced by External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar in August 2023. Dr Jaishankar revealed that the Indian government is actively engaged in discussions with the Bhutanese regime regarding a groundbreaking rail link between Bhutan and Assam. Speaking about the potential benefits, he highlighted Bhutan's eagerness to open up more tourist destinations and emphasized the positive impact the rail link would have on Assam.
The proposed railway connection, slated to be completed by 2026, marks the first-ever rail link between India and Bhutan. Spanning 57 kilometers, the project is set to receive full financial backing from the Indian government. Shedding light on Bhutan's perspective, Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji stated in April that the Bhutanese government prioritizes the initial development of this railway link. Following its completion, attention will turn towards extending connectivity to other key regions, including Samtse, Phuentsholing, Nganglam, and Samdrupjongkhar.
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