Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Trucks bound for Pasakha will not have to enter Phuentsholing hereafter.

The land customs station (LCS) at Allay, Pasakha inaugurated yesterday opens an alternative route for the trucks to the Pasakha industrial estate.

However, this is a temporary measure. Officials from Bhutan and Jaigaon, including the Consul General of India in Phuentsholing, Ashish Middha, attended the opening ceremony yesterday.

Trucks laden with raw material for the industries in Pasakha can now divert from Bibarey across the border and enter Pasakha from this LCS—without having to pass through Jaigaon.

Only trucks importing raw materials will be allowed on the new route. Trucks carrying industrial export materials will still use the same old route from Phuentsholing. However, empty trucks can exit from Allay.

At the LCS, all the customs clearing works will be carried out. Separate structures for this purpose have been set up. At the entry gate, a small and elevated structure has also been raised to monitor the truck and the drivers inside.

The new route to the industrial estate is shorter by 21km. It will also give Covid-19 prevention and control measures added advantage. The trucks were often seen stranded due to breakdowns on the way to Pasakha.

The director general of Department of Industry, Yonten Namgyel said the alternative route will ease the traffic congestion in Phuentsholing.

Indian Ambassador to Bhutan, Ruchira Kamboj said, “On the request of the Royal Government of Bhutan, we’re pleased to provide temporary access through Allay for the movement of heavy vehicles and trucks from India into Bhutan.”

“Bhutan is India’s closest partner and friend and given the excellent bilateral relationship between our two countries and keeping in view as well as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic situation, this access to Allay should further facilitate trade and commerce between our two countries.”

About 80 trucks enter Pasakha every day, which is down from more than 200 trucks prior to the pandemic.