Saarc chamber pushes for seamless regional energy trade

Kathmandu, July 30 (IANS) The top industry chamber for South Asia has called for a public-private forum to promote seamless energy trade in the region, the freedom for transit of hydrocarbons via pipelines and the extension of most-favoured nation status between and among the countries.

Wrapping up a conference on clean environment, climate change and water conservation in Paro, the Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry has came out with a declaration that said effort must also be made to promote foreign investment in the region in the area of energy and clean technology.

“As energy is an important issue for economic growth, we aim to increase investment in the power sector,” said Suraj Vaidya, acting president of the chamber, while also pushing for a mechanism to resolve state-to-state or investor-to-state disputes in the region.

As regards what the declaration termed as the Electric Power Forum, the chamber said it must also include experts and practitioners to promote energy trade, while promoting efficient development of energy sector facilitating the implementation of priority energy projects.

According to Vaidya, the Paro Declaration desires uninterrupted power at affordable prices in the region. Voicing the opinions of stake-holders, it said there should be three sub-grid systems in the region — eastern, western and southern grids, pending the coverage of entire South Asia.

The eastern grid should include Bhutan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal, the western grid can include Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, while the southern grid will be formed by India and Sri Lanka.
Only Maldives, which is a part of the eight-nation grouping, finds no mention.

The chamber also said pacts on Saarc energy projects must push accessibility and affordability.

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