By Jigmi Wangdi 

MP for Ugyentse-Yoeseltse, Dinesh Kumar Pradhan, said that the restrictions on the movement of small vehicles outside the border into India are creating inconveniences and hindering businesses for citizens residing in Samtse. 

Seeking practical solution urgently, he asked Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering in the parliament what was being done to improve the situation.

MP emphasised the need for smaller vehicles to be allowed to travel outside the border, citing the convenience it would bring to the local population. The concerns raised by the parliamentarian resonated with numerous grievances received by Prime Minister from other MPs and citizens.

Prime Minister acknowledged the challenges faced by the residents of Samtse due to the limited movement of vehicles across the border and explained that before the pandemic, Bhutan and India had around 176 points of entry and exit along the border, stretching from Trashiyangtse to Samtse. However, the number of accessible border points has been reduced to about 13 key areas for business and travel purposes.

When the borders reopened following the pandemic, people of Samtse, particularly those residing near the Jitti Checkpost and the surrounding eight gewogs, encountered significant restrictions that led to substantial business losses. 

In response to the concerns, the Prime Minister assured that the government is actively working on establishing regulations that encompass the movement of both heavy and light vehicles.

“We need to establish regulations, similar to those in Phuentsholing, Gelephu, and Samdrupjongkhar, to effectively monitor the entry and exit of vehicles and people. The regulations for the Jitti Checkpost are still in progress,” said Prime Minister, adding that it is important to assess the situation and evaluating the associated benefits before implementing any plans.

Prime Minister appealed for the patience and understanding of citizens as the government continues to develop and refine the regulations. The government’s objective, he said, is to strike a balance between facilitating necessary border movements and ensuring the safety and security of the region.