When Bhutan opened its door to the outside world and embarked on the modernisation process in 1960s, it saw timber resources with its expansive forest cover as the primary source of government revenue.
The Royal Government of Bhutan (RGOB) in 1961 invited a Swedish team to investigate the possibilities of setting up forest industries. This team surveyed a forest area of 87,000 hectares around Paro and Thimphu valleys and they recommended for establishment of a news print mill with the production capacity of 100,000 tons a year or a kraft paper mill with a capacity of 50,000 tonnes a year.
A Japanese team in 1963 surveyed the forests in Haa, Paro and Thimphu valleys, and they recommended for establishment of 2 or 3 small ground wood pulp plants of 20 to 30 tons per day capacity in Haa, Paro and Thimphu. They also recommended setting up of a kraft plant in Phuntsholing with 50 tons per day capacity and an Indian team in 1970 recommended setting up a kraft paper mill with a capacity of 125 tons per day along with setting up integrated hardboard and particle board plants.
The primary purpose of the National Forest Policy 1974 was that, ‘forests must play the major part in meeting the national economic goal of self-reliance and the forests thus shall strive for 10 percent growth per annum and the forests must serve the vital national interest.’I wonder what if these bold forestry projects would have been materialized!