Dec 21: Marking the 102nd National Day on December 17, Bhutan inaugurated a new consulate in the capital city of West Bengal, Kolkata. Along side the opening ceremony, the Bhutan Fruit and Tourism Fair was held and the first issue of the Annual Journal of the Indo-Bhutanese Friendship Association, Kolkata, entitled “Golden Heritage” was launched.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Ugyen Tshering and the Governor of West Bengal Devanand Konwar jointly inaugurated the Consulate at 6 Mall Road, Dum Dum in Kolkata.
Addressing the function, Tshering Wangda, the Consul General of the Royal Bhutan Consulate said that the Bhutanese trading relations with the Kolkata has prospered in the last forty-nine years, established by the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
Ugyen Tshering said that the relations between India and Bhutan have been moving along very positive lines ever since they started. He said, “Bhutan has embarked on a new era and we will not make wealth the end subject of our development activities, we will try to take those greater values that people have in their hearts, minds and thoughts.” He further added that the opening of the Consulate is not just about economic and commercial activities, it was also about building confident and mutual understandings. “With these special values, we shall learn together the right formula for facilitating long lasting friendship”, he said.
Devanand Konwar said that the Bhutanese hydro-electric projects would benefit the people of West Bengal, Assam as well as other parts of India. He hoped that with all close cooperation, the relationship between the two countries will be deepened in the future with pride and prosperity.
The fair was organised particularly to promote and facilitate marketing opportunities for Bhutanese products and tourism council, enhance people to people contacts, diversify the existing commercial interactions and explore investment potentials. The Agriculture Marketing Services (AMS) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Bhutan Agro Industries Limited (BAIL), Daga Singye Tshogpa (DST), Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) and Bhutanese orange exporters participated in the fair.
A total of ten stalls, four for agriculture and six for tourism were there displaying various Bhutanese products both for sale and awareness.
After the function, Foreign Minister said he hoped that tensions in Gorkhaland, where most of the Bhutanese students come for studies, would find the political mechanisms to settle the problem.
The consulate in Kolkata has been authorised to grant immigration permits from its office so that Kolkata people need not visit Paro and Phuentsholing for permits. The Consulate will start the issuing permits July 2010.