All the border gates across the country were closed starting from 6am on March 23, 2020
The announcement by the government to reopen borders in September has brought excitement to the residents of the border town of Jaigaon, India.
The Tourism Council of Bhutan shared a press release on June 29 to reopen borders on September 23 with a renewed focus on tourism and sustainability. The government also lifted the five-day facility quarantine for all incoming travelers.
Jagi Soni, who runs a hardware shop in Jaigaon, said Bhutan announcing to open the borders comes as very good news.
He said it will be a good opportunity again to improve business for both the business people of Phuentsholing and Jaigaon.
“Phuentsholing and Jaigaon were disconnected for a long time due to the border closure. Phuentsholing is a second home for the residents of Jaigaon and we missed a lot,” he added.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dynamic Siliguri, a tour company in West Bengal, Anil Kumar Kansobonic said that the residents of the border town are excited.
Harish Morwani, the CEO of Gemini Tours and Travel in Jaigaon also shared a similar excitement.
“Opening after a long gap of two years, everyone is excited,” he added. “Hope after opening, the movement will be normal as before.”
The Editor-in-Chief of Jaigaon Today said that the proposal to open the Indo-Bhutan gate is very good for both countries.
However, he said that Indians are still confused with the new tourism policy, whether Indian tourists visiting only Phuentsholing will also have to pay the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF).
The president of the Kalchini Minority Cell Block and Jaigaon Anchol, Abdul Manik said that the news of the opening came as a relief to both the residents of Jaigaon and Phuentsholing.
He said, “The Covid situation in Jaigaon is controlled and Bhutan should not worry about opening the border.”
However, he said that the tourists are confused about whether the borders will be opened only for tourists or also for the public.
The general secretary of the Jaigaon Merchant Association, R.S Gupta said that the government of Bhutan has taken a good initiative.
He said, “The residents of Jaigaon welcome the decision. Now the people of Jaigaon and Phuentsholing can rebuild the relationship. Any unforeseen problems will be solved automatically.”
A member of Zillaprasad, Alipurduar, Pasang Deki Sherpa said that the step taken to reopen the borders will benefit both the public of Bhutan and India.
She said that the decision will heighten the Indo-Bhutan relation and people-to-people contact between Phuentsholing and Jaigaon.
The general secretary of the Kalchini Block’s Chamber of Commerce, Rakesh Pandey said that the news of opening borders is an exciting move for the people of Jaigaon and Phuentsholing.
The residents of Phuentsholing are also excited over the announcement of opening borders in September this year.
Pasang Choden, who runs a business in Phuentsholing, said that the residents of Phuentsholing are equally waiting for the Bhutan gate to open.
“It will not only benefit the residents of Phuentsholing but all the people in the country.”
Sangay Rabten from Thimphu