Funds: The Bhutan-India Small Development Project (SDP) Committee met for the sixth time to review the progress of projects yesterday.

The committee agreed that there is a need to expedite the pending release of Nu 1.3 billion (B).

The two parties noted that Nu 5.8B has been received for all the five batches of SDP. The Bhutanese delegation thanked the Indian government for releasing 67.9 percent of the total committed fund.

Under the SDP scheme, the Indian government committed a total assistance of Nu 8.5 billion during the 11th Plan that has been programmed for 595 projects in five batches.

The meeting reviewed the progress of all the activities under the five batches. There were 46 projects amounting to Nu 1.4B in the first batch, 254 projects amounting to Nu 3.1B in the second batch, 182 projects amounting to Nu 2.4B in the third batch, 104 projects amounting to Nu 1.4B in the fourth batch, and nine projects amounting to Nu 181.277 million in the final batch.

The SDP finances a wide range of projects, most of them located in rural areas, and consist mainly of activities crucial to socio economic development such as blacktopping of gewog centre roads, farm roads, irrigation channels, drinking water supply schemes, basic health units, schools, community meeting halls, staff quarters, bailey bridges, river bank protection walls, permanent structures on the farm roads, sports infrastructures, and gewog offices, among others.

“These projects are crucial for addressing socio-economic development as they have a direct and positive impact on the livelihoods and everyday lives of the people and communities,” a press release from the GNHC stated.

Director of the bilateral affairs department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kesang Wangdi led the Bhutanese delegation and the Indian delegation was led by the Indian Embassy’s deputy chief of mission, Esha Srivastava.

Tshering Palden