ITANAGAR, Oct 11 - Arunachal Pradesh Governor Brig (Dr) BD Mishra (retd) and Chief Minister Pema Khandu have stressed the need of connecting Tawang district to the neighbouring country of Bhutan by road. The duo pointed out that Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan have had strong cultural links since ages.
The Governor and the Chief Minister made the suggestion when the Consul General of the Royal Bhutanese Consulate General in Guwahati, Phub Tshering, called on them at their respective offices here today and discussed various bilateral issues to strengthen the age-old relationship between the two neighbouring nations.
The Consul General is on a two-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh that shares an international boundary with Bhutan. The west Arunachal districts have close cultural and religious affinity with the Buddhist kingdom.
During the informal discussion, Chief Minister Khandu stressed the need of connecting Bhutan and Tawang by road which, he claimed, would boost tourism in both the countries. He pointed out that the road on the Indian side in Tawang district is almost ready. However, construction is yet to begin on the Bhutan side.
The Chief Minister informed the Consul General, who has consular jurisdiction over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland, that surface and air connectivity in the State has received a major fillip in recent years with the Centre�s support. While rail connectivity to Tawang from Bhalukpong is expected to be complete by 2020, a proposal has been made to establish an airport at Tawang, he said.
�When these projects are complete, tourists will throng West Kameng and Tawang districts in large numbers. If we open the road from Tawang to Bhutan, both our State and Bhutan will immensely benefit. It is a win-win situation for both of us,� Khandu said.
The Chief Minister said that his Government is ready to sort out any concerns of Bhutan. He also proposed that a ropeway could be constructed to attract tourists till the completion of the road.
The Bhutan Consul General said that Arunachal Pradesh could collaborate with Bhutan in the tourism sector.
During his meeting with the Consul General of Bhutan at the Raj Bhavan here, the Governor took up the issue of the Lumla-Tashigang road for strengthening border trade between the two countries. The Governor said apart from having an alternate route to reach Guwahati and other parts of the country, the road will help sick and suffering people when the existing road is blocked due to rain, snow and landslides.
The distance from Tawang to Guwahati via Samdrup Jongkhar is 395 km compared to the existing route, which is about 550 km. The distance will be reduced by 155 km when the Lumla-Tashigang road is built, he pointed.
The Governor also suggested the Consul General to enhance tourism and cultural exchange programmes between the university students of Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan.
The Consul General was accompanied by Consul Sherub Phuntsho.