* Bangladesh’s PM Sheikh Hasina says SAARC members committed to solve electricity shortages
* Dhaka says framework will be finalised by October this year
DHAKA: South Asian nations agreed on Thursday to work to promote closer energy links for electricity grids and power generation, a senior energy official said. Energy ministers from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) — bringing together Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — finished their meeting on Thursday. “To implement the decision a framework will be finalised by October this year,” said Mohammad Abul Kalam Azad, Bangladesh secretary for power division. Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the meeting that SAARC members were politically committed to solve electricity shortages.
She said that in this spirit Bangladesh was working on the SAARC grid interconnection between Bangladesh and India. “As this interconnection is established, it would be easier to establish connectivity with other SAARC member countries,” she said. She added that Bangladesh planned to produce 20,000 megawatts of electricity by the year of 2021.
Mohammad Mejbahuddin, secretary of the energy and mineral resources division, said that Bangladesh is working on power links with India and Myanmar. “If we can utilise hydro power potential in Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar we could be self reliant on clean energy,” he said. “The politico-economic developments in the world have placed energy security under the global spotlight,” Mejbahuddin said. He said that energy price peaks had wreaked havoc with Bangladesh’s economic stability. Azad confirmed that Bangladesh would be able to import electricity from India by the early of 2013. He told reporters after the fourth SAARC energy ministers meeting that in the region “we have natural gas, hydro power, coal and the expertise to generate renewable energy and if we can explore those potentials and can share effectively then will be able to reduce poverty, the ultimate goal of the nations.” reuters