Energy ring covering SAARC nations proposed

New Delhi, March 5:

The extension of the SAARC Energy Ring among SAARC member countries has been proposed for meeting the increasing demand for energy and expansion of transmission lines in the SAARC nations.

Representatives of SAARC nations, attending the first SAARC energy discussion here today, tabled a proposal to this effect.

Representatives of government, non-governmental organisations and energy experts from all SAARC member countries, including newcomer Afghanistan, are attending the discussion. Inaugurating the discussion, central energy minister of India Sushil Kumar Shinde said inter-country transmission lines are necessary to promote cooperation in the trade of electricity, gas and petroleum products among SAARC nations. SAARC nations have to work together for a lasting solution to the increasing demands of energy, he said.

Stressing the need for extending inter-country transmission lines, Shinde said that the extension of the inter-country grid line with Nepal and Bhutan has been completed and a feasibility study for construction of an inter-country grid line with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is also going on.

Saying that India has been giving top priority to generation of hydro-electricity, Shinde said only 20 per cent of South Asia’s hydro-electric potential has been exploited.

Addressing the gathering, SAARC secretary-general Chenkyab Dorjee said the discussion would be helpful in setting the agenda for energy cooperation among SAARC nations.

Central energy secretary of India Anil Razdan also expressed his views on the occasion. Participants will discuss six issues in the discussion being organised by the Indian Foreign Ministry and Central Energy Ministry of India.

Nepalese representatives, including undersecretary at the Ministry of Water Resources Anup Kumar Upadhyaya, and chief of the SAARC division at the ministry, Dipak Kumar Dhital, are also taking part in the discussion.