Bhutan reopens gates for tourists, but adds new rules
Thousands of visitors, including businessmen, thronged the international border with Bhutan on Friday
RANGIA: Thousands of visitors, including businessmen, thronged the international border with Bhutan on Friday when the government of Bhutan formally opened all the gates at its borders with Assam and West Bengal after three-and-a-half years.
The international border with Bhutan was closed after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic since March, 2019.
After reopening of the international border gates at Samdrup Jhonkhar under the Tamulpur district, Dadgiri and Gelefu under the Chirang district, Namlang and Panbang under the Baksa district and Samrang under the Udalguri district with the initiative of Indo-Bhutan Friendship Association, visitors were overwhelmed and celebrated the moment with Bihu dances, songs etc. They also felicitated the officials of government of Bhutan with arnai, gamosa and bouquets.
It may be mentioned that due to the closure of the international border, businessmen of both the countries faced tremendous distress, especially the businessmen of Samdrup Jhonkhar under the Tamulpur district, who are completely depended on the buyers of Tamulpur district and tourists of other countries.
However, the Government of Bhutan has imposed some rules and regulations for the tourists, including visitors from Assam and other Indian states. According to the new rules, all the visitors from India will have to produce voter ID cards, passports or any other identity proof at the immigration check post. Children below 18 years will have to produce birth certificates. The visitors or foreign tourists who will be staying overnight in Bhutan will have to pay Rs 1,200 per person per night as Sustainable Development fee.
People of the border area have expressed deep resentment over the new rule of payment for the visitors from India as there was no such rule earlier.
The gates will remain open from 9 am to 5 pm. Visitors and tourists who are not staying overnight must leave Bhutan before 5 pm, sources said.