Borderline business

Phuentsholing needs Jaigaon as much as Jaigaon needs Phuentsholing.  As the busiest commercial hub, any disturbance across the Phuentsholing gate can cause immense loss to both Bhutan and the rapidly growing business community in Jaigaon.

The border town is thriving because of the business prospects.  More than Bhutanese, many want peace and harmony for mutual benefits.  Therefore, it is disturbing, when some people are exaggerating that the business community in Jaigaon is planning a strike because of the Anti Corruption Commission’s ongoing investigations in Phuentsholing, Bhutan.

The reality is that some local leaders, on the request of some affected Indian businessmen operating from Phuentsholing, have written to the Indian consulate general office in Phuentsholing.  They were concerned that a businessman had been in detention for more than a month.  The issue is more about bail for the detainee.

With a massive investigation, one finding leading to another, the ACC is kept busy.  They would need all the cooperation to speed up the investigation and bring the matter to an end.  From a Bhutanese perspective, the ACC had got a lead into what has been happening for many years, involving business community and government officials.  It is a good chance for the anti graft body to expose corruption and clean the system.

It was unfortunate that some Indians doing business inside Bhutan were linked to the ongoing investigations and detained.  People are detained during investigations, so that evidence that could lead to others is not concealed or covered up.  As a border town, with a porous border and unrestricted business links, it is said, Jaigaon businessmen run most businesses in Phuentsholing.  The intention of ACC was never to detain Indians.  They were linked to the investigations.

This is a problem that can be solved without involving government or political parties.  Jumping the gun without understanding the details could jeopardise the investigations, and dampen the spirit of the friendly people living in harmony in Phuentsholing and Jaigaon.  Like the ACC offered, if the concerned businessman can find a guarantor worthy of the ACC’s trust, he would be released on bail.  The offer was already made, several times.

Fortunately, concerned officials at the consulate general understand the issue and are dealing with it professionally.  The ACC investigation is an internal affair, and some Indian businessmen were allegedly found to be on the wrong side of the law.  We can see this problem solved without having to involve governments.  The consulate will look into the genuine problems of the Indians, if they have appealed to the consulate.

Both Jaigaon and Phuentsholing will be at a loss if the relation and trust they have built up for decades can be undone by some rash decisions.  There are others in Jaigaon who welcome the investigations.  They know clean and transparent business will benefit more on both sides of the gate.

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