The sixth Indo-Bhutan friendship car rally 2018, themed ‘connecting People’, commemorating the golden jubilee diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan, ended yesterday with the prize distribution ceremony for the winners in the four categories.

SK Ajgar Ali with MK Mohammed Musthafa came first in the overall category and was awarded cash prize of Nu 90,000. Deep Dutta with navigator Chandan Sen came second and won a cash price of Nu 60,000. Yogesh Mullick with navigator Suvrajit Dutta, who came third, got a cash prize of Nu 40,000.

Jogendra Jaiswal with navigator T Nagarajan came fourth in the category.

Rajiv Sarkar with navigator Moulinath Ghosh, came fifth in the overall category and also claimed first in the stock category. Ankur Agarwal and navigator Rajkumar Mundra came second in the stock category.

Sridevi Chupula and navigator Sanghamitra Rath were awarded the best all-women team and stood third in the stock category.

Gopa Karma and navigator lieutenant colonel Thinley Dorji won the armed forces’ category and were awarded a cash prize of Nu 15,000. Major R PS Sandhu and navigator Vikas came second. Major Sandeep Chauhan with navigator Captain Ajay Antil stood third in the category.

There were three teams in the stock category.

Thirty teams participated in the rally competition of about 500 kilometres. However, two teams dropped out at the border due to mechanical failure.

The rally covered four Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Sikkim, and West Bengal, and two districts of Bhutan, Chukha and Thimphu.

The rally which flagged off from Kolkata on March 4 with 22 teams converged at Siliguri, India on March 9 and finished in Thimphu on March 10.

Speaker Jigme Zangpo, during the prize distribution ceremony yesterday, said that the golden jubilee celebration is an occasion for Bhutan and India not only to showcase, reflect and assess the extraordinary achievements of the past 50 years, but also to look forward for a future of deepening relationship, cooperation and partnership.

India’s ambassador to Bhutan, Jaideep Sarkar, said that although the two countries have more differences than similarities, the two are joined in spirit by heart and mind, and physically by the rivers, roads, and pathways.   “It was through this rally that we wanted to show how important it is for these arteries of communication between us to reverberate with traffic, with people, goods and ideas.”

Kama Cheki