Arunachal urges Centre to open up trade routes with Bhutan, China, Myanmar

ITANAGAR, Sep 12: The Arunachal Pradesh government on Thursday urged the Centre to take steps to improve road connectivity with neighbouring Myanmar, China and Bhutan to open up trade routes between the Northeast and these countries.
Arunachal Pradesh Trade & Commerce Minister Tumke Bagra took part in a board of trade meeting, chaired by union Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, at the national capital on Thursday.
Speaking on the occasion, Bagra said rebuilding of the Stilwell road would connect the landlocked region with the ASEAN countries and provide shorter and cheaper trade routes than the existing sea routes that are longer, an official communiqué issued here said.
Built during World War 2 by the Allies to aid the Chinese forces fighting the Japanese, Stilwell road connects India with northern Myanmar and China’s Yunnan province via Pangsau Pass in eastern Arunachal Pradesh.
“Reopening of the route through Pangsau Pass will improve trade relations between India and Myanmar and benefit the local population. It could become a gateway to the Southeast Asian countries,” he said.
Bagra also said the construction of the road from Lumla in western Arunachal Pradesh to Trashigang in Bhutan would boost tourism in Tawang.
“The road from Lumla is motorable up to Warongde at the India-Bhutan border on the Indian side. However, a stretch of 7 kms from Warongde to Bhutan’s Khinye is yet to be connected. If completed, the journey time between Tawang and Guwahati via Tashigang will be reduced by five hours than the present route through Sela Pass, Bomdila and Tezpur,” he said.
Bagra said the new route via Trashigang would also help commuters bypass the present landslide-prone route and help Tawang develop as an international tourist destination.
Bagra also urged Goyal to reconsider the minimum area requirement for setting up of an economic zone in the state, considering its topography, the statement said.
He also stressed the need for establishing outlets with facilities for collecting, sorting, grading, and packaging agricultural and horticultural products, along proposed highways, it said.
Bagra also sought setting up of certification units for organic agricultural and horticultural products and food testing laboratories at the border trade centres.
He said integrated domestic trade centres at interstate border towns in the northeastern states would help farmers of the region, the communiqué said.
“Goods originating from the Northeast which are sent to other states within the country be treated as ‘deemed exports’ and feasible incentive be devised,” he said, adding that the matter of border trade through Pangsau Pass be included in the bilateral trade agreement between India and Myanmar.
He also urged the union minister for opening of a land customs station in Changlang district’s Nampong which had been approved by the government of India in 1951.
The minister urged the Centre to request Myanmar to build infrastructure for a land customs station near Pangsau Pass on their side.
Goyal assured Bagra of establishing an export promotion council in Arunachal related to agricultural and horticultural products.
Bagra requested the Centre to increase the transport subsidy on raw materials from the present 20 percent and modify the North East Industrial Development Scheme accordingly, it said.
Bagra said that under the North East Industrial Investment Promotion Policy, 2007, transport subsidy of 90 percent was provided on raw materials and 50 percent on finished goods.
He also requested the union minister for acceptance of offline registration under the scheme, owing to the poor internet connection in the remote areas of the state. (PTI)