Gelephu: developing as center of attraction
January 04, 2009: After years of neglect, the Bhutanese bureaucracy, political circle and the business community are finally realizing the economic potentiality of the southern border towns, and in general that of the south.
Almost three decades of hatred had almost ruined this potentiality. Revising it takes another few years, after which southern Bhutan many prove its viability causing panic in the hearts of rulers for neglecting such opportunities.
Forces are still in operation not to let south to show its strength. However, things are changing gradually and resisting forces are loosing the game. Industries are moving south, markets are opening, trade with India is increasing and agricultural production harvesting pretty.
Gelephu and Pheuntsholing are main centers of attraction for investors. Gelephu aready showed its interest to host an international airport and expand the existing market. The latest development in this town is a business fair held for the first time in south by Bhutan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI). The fair is scheduled for 8-12 January.
To meet Indian preference to host such fairs in border towns, the BCCI walked down from Thimphu to host this five- day Bhutan-India Regional Friendship Trade Fair to enhance cross-border business.
Micro, small and medium enterprises from Bhutan and North-Eastern states of India will be participating in the event.
The organizers believe that by organizing such an event, it would act as a catalyst for Gelephu in facilitating and promoting balanced national development. The region saw no development for last two decades.
The BCCI plans to organize several parallel activities such as seminars on B2B market development model, launching of rural products and services, awareness creation programs on health, social and backyard farms for rural populace, cultural evenings for exchange of cross-border cultures.
Of the total 80 projected exhibitors, around 25 firms and companies are expected from the North-Eastern states alone, 25 from other parts of India and the rest from Bhutan. Publicity is extensively carried out by the hosts.
The regional chapter of the Bhutan-India Friendship Association (BIFA) in Gelephu and district administration of Sarpang will act as local promoters.
“With hydro projects like Mangdechu, Punatsangchu and Chamkharchu coming up, Gelephu will become a gateway for the raw materials required, making her a potential economic hub,” said BCCI general secretary Phub Tshering.