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India, still the number one grant provider

Among others the GoI will also support the construction of Sarpang Dzong for which a budget of Nu/Rs 275 has already been earmarked

Compiled by Sonam Choki
Thimphu

Government of India this week provided a grant of Nu./Rs. 810.22 million towards key development projects in Bhutan
On Friday, the Government of India has released an amount of Nu./Rs. 810.22 million to the Royal Government of Bhutan for the smooth implementation of various development projects in Bhutan.
These projects are spread over diverse sectors inter alia Education, Culture, Industrial Development, Highways and Infrastructure development.
A statement from the Indian Embassy in Thimphu said: “This grant has been made under the Project Tied Assistance (PTA) committed by the Government of India to the Royal Government of Bhutan for the 12th Five Year Plan of Bhutan.”
It is stated that out of this grant amount, Nu./Rs. 275 million has been earmarked for the Construction of a Dzong in the Sarpang Dzonkhag that will house the offices of local administration and the district monk body. The Dzong will incorporate modern building technologies while preserving the traditional Bhutanese Architecture.
An amount of Nu./Rs. 92 million will be dedicated to the Development of Jigmeling Industrial Park in Sarpang. This project will create manufacturing facilities for cottage, small, medium and large industries in central Bhutan, and will provide a favourable environment for the development of private industries and socio-economic wellbeing of the region.
India is supporting Education Flagship Program which is being implemented in all 20 Dzonkhags and 4 Thromdes of Bhutan. This project aims to enhance ICT skills of students, supply digital devices to schools and augment trainers’ competencies in computer coding. An amount of Nu./Rs. 71.5 million has been released for this program.
Further, for the Construction of the Royal Institute of Law in Paro, an amount of Nu./Rs. 168 million has been dedicated.
For the Development of Sports Infrastructure in seven Dzongkhags of Bhutan, Nu./Rs. 52 million is being released under the grant. This project, being implemented by the Bhutan Olympic Association, will provide the youth and the urban residents an opportunity to partake in sports and recreation.
In support to Infrastructure Development projects, an amount of Nu./Rs. 66.67 million has been released for the Improvement of Sunkosh Dagepala Highway and an amount of Nu./Rs. 85 million has been committed for the Resurfacing of Samtse Tashochoeling Tendruk Road. Both the projects would help improve the connectivity in the southern Dzongkhags of Samtse and Dagana.
For the 12th Five Year Plan of Bhutan, Government of India has committed a financial support of Nu./Rs. 45 billion comprising Nu./Rs. 28 billion of Project Tied Assistance, Nu./Rs. 8.5 billion of assistance towards High Impact Community Development Projects and Nu./Rs. 8.5 billion of Program Grant assistance.
Since the start of the 12th plan, India has released Nu./Rs. 22.86 billion till date.
A press release from the Indian embassy in Thimphu stated that ‘the people and the Government of India stand resolutely committed to the long term well-being and prosperity of the people and the Royal Government of Bhutan.’
Grant for DGPC
On similar lines, the Government of India released an amount of Nu./Rs. 164 million as grant to Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) towards its share in the Kholongchhu Hydroelectric Power Project Joint Venture.
GoI released a grant of Nu./Rs. 164 million to Druk Green Power Corporation, Bhutan towards DGPC’s share in the Kholongchhu Hydroelectric Power Project Joint Venture. With the release of this amount, Government of India has contributed Nu./Rs. 1901.82 million as DGPC’s share in the project.
The Kholongchhu HEP is the first joint venture project being implemented under the Intergovernmental Agreement on Development of Joint Venture Hydropower Projects, signed in April 2014.
The concession agreement for the project was signed between the Royal Government of Bhutan and the project developer, Kholongchhu Hydro Energy Limited (KHEL) in June 2020. Kholongchhu Hydroelectric Power Project will be the seventh hydropower project to be built in Bhutan with the financial support of the Government of India.
The project is being financed under a debt-equity ratio of 70:30, wherein the debt will be raised by a joint venture company and the equity would be equally divided between Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam ltd. (SJVN) and Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC).
The press statement from the Indian Embassy stated: “The Government of India is providing DGPC’s share of equity in the JV company as grant. The project is being built at a cost of Nu./Rs. 54.818 billion.”
Further, in March 2021, contracts for construction works worth Nu./Rs. 20.763 billion were awarded by the Project Management. One of the contractors for the project is a Bhutanese construction company, M/s Rigsar Construction Pvt Ltd. which was awarded a major contract amounting to Nu./Rs. 4.346 billion along with an Indian Company in a joint venture.
The contract conditions further provide for offloading of minimum 20% of entire works (Nu./Rs. 400 million) to local Bhutanese contractors, which will help in technology transfer and skill development of local contractors in Bhutan. The project is stated to be completed by March 2026.
Handing of Mahseer Conservation and Fish Monitoring Center
In a similar gesture of friendship, Punatsangchhu – 2 Hydroelectric Power Project handed over Mahseer Conservation and Fish Monitoring Centre, Wangdue Phodrang to the Royal Government of Bhutan.
“In an effort to safeguard the local biodiversity of Wangdue Phodrang, the Punatsangchhu – 2 Hydroelectricity Project Authority (PHPA – II) handed over a state-of-the-art Mahseer Conservation and Fish Monitoring Center to the Department of Livestock, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Royal Government of Bhutan,” the press release from the Indian Embassy stated.
Golden Mahseer (Tor Putitora) is a large migratory riverine fish found in South-East Asia and is the largest fish found in Bhutan’s rivers. The majestic fish holds high religious and cultural significance in Bhutan. It is revered as one of the eight auspicious signs in Bhutan, namely Sernya : The Golden Fish.
An endangered species, the Golden Mahseer is a Schedule-I protected species under the Forest and Nature Conservation Rules of Bhutan, 2006. The ground breaking ceremony of the project was carried out on 7th November 2015 by the then Lyonchen Tshering Tobgay.
Located in the Athang Gewog in Wangdue Phodrang, this centre will help in the breeding and seed production of Golden Mahseer and other fish varieties native to the region. The centre has been constructed at a cost of Nu./Rs. 151.53 million by PHPA – II.

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