Pass required to enter Jaigaon once border gate opens

People will have to show a pass to enter Jaigaon, India, and subsequently pay taxes for the goods they buy

The people who wish to cross to the Indian border town of Jaigaon will now need to show a pass when the border gates open from September 23 this year.

Once the Goods and Service Tax (GST) is in place, any shopping done in Jaigaon will be subjected to paying taxes in Bhutan.

“You will need to pay taxes as you come in and the passage terminal is accessed with all the facilities,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Tandi Dorji, during the meeting of tour operators and the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) yesterday.

“The before days of going across to Jaigaon and coming back are gone. You will have to show the pass and the people going in and out will not be stopped.”

Further, the minister said that the Indian tourists coming to Phuentsholing for a day visit will not have to pay the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF), while they need to pay only if they stay for a night and more.

Tourists from India will also have to do biometrics before entering the country, while the mechanism of the work will be monitored at the passenger terminal and the premises will be equipped with all the necessary facilities.

Similarly, while there is no discount for tourists as of now, the minister, however, said the government will see through the evolving situation.

“If it is for a long term like a trek to Lunana for 21 days, we feel we can give discounts. But we have to see which merits real discounts,” said the Foreign Affairs Minister.

Meanwhile, during-the-meet yesterday, Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji said that the draft of the rules and regulations of the Tourism Act is ready and there are not many changes aside from the VISA to be applied through the Department of Immigration (DoI) instead of the TCB.

While the VISA can be applied directly by showing the hotel booked and in presence of the tour guide, the immigration will give the VISA.

Further, the minister divulged that the government is deciding whether to give the VISA for one month. They will have to pay the SDF only for the duration that they have stayed in the country, while the route permit for Indian tourists is also lifted.

Meanwhile, a green fee for Indian tourists who bring their own vehicle is put with Nu 4,500 per day for their vehicle, which was divulged that it would be finalized after the discussion with the Indian government in the coming days.

Sherab Dorji from Thimphu