AID: The Government of India yesterday approved a total of 182 projects worth Nu 2.4 billion during the third Bhutan-India Small Development Project Committee meeting in Thimphu, yesterday, according to a press release from the foreign ministry.
A total of 218 projects were proposed under the third batch of Small Development Projects (SDP).
Some of the approved projects include black topping of gewog connectivity roads, construction of farm roads, irrigation channels, motor bridges, water supply, and procurement of garbage trucks.
It was decided in the meeting that the remaining 36 projects, related to formation cutting for construction of farm roads, that were not approved, should either be proposed again along with the permanent structures or replaced by new projects, it is pointed in the press release.
The committee will consider these projects when they are ready. It was also decided that the meeting should meet at the earliest to consider the fourth batch of SDP projects.
Progress of the first two batches of SDPs was also reviewed.
The 46 projects in the first SDP batch amounting to Nu 1.4 billion, approved in March 2014, will be completed by mid-2016.
The 257 projects in the second batch, worth Nu 3.1 billion and approved in November 2014, will be completed by mid-2017.
To date, the government has received Nu 1.6 billion for the two batches. It was agreed in the meeting that the release of the balance amount of Nu 599.6 million should be expedited.
Director general of the Department of Bilateral Affairs, Kinga Singye led the Bhutanese delegation while the Indian embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Bishwadip Dey, led the Indian delegation.
SDPs are short gestation and community oriented projects such as drinking water schemes, irrigation channels, farm roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.
Funds under the SDPs are used mainly for infrastructure development in rural areas, which are planned and implemented by local governments based on the priorities, and needs of communities.
Focusing on basic socio-economic development, these projects are found to be an effective tool in addressing rural poverty as they have a direct bearing on the lives of the grassroots people, it says on the website of the Indian embassy in Thimphu. Under the SDP, some 1,800 projected were completed in the 10th Plan, it is added.
By Gyalsten K Dorji