South Asia

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Private power: Small, 10-15 megawatt power plants, will now be installed across Bangladesh by the private sector. A proposal to this effect was passed by Bangladesh prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia on July 16, 2005. Media reports quoted a highly placed source saying that the power ministry is going to invite tenders soon.

In 1996, the government had adopted a policy permitting private participation in the power sector, but it contained a clause of mobilising foreign financing, which couldn't be met by local entrepreneurs. As per the new plan, 20 power plants will be set up under private ownership of Bangladeshi entrepreneurs at specific locations in 12 districts under build-own-operate terms. The Power Development Board, Rural Electrification Board, Dhaka Electric Supply Authority and Dhaka Electric Supply Company will buy electricity from these plants for the national grid, to cut down the acute power shortage in the country.

No study aid: Nepal's volatile political situation has dealt another blow to the country's poor, this time students. The European Commission (EC) recently decided to suspend about US $30 million aid to the country's Education for All (EFA) 2004-2009 programme. "What changed after February 1 [2005] was that due to the new political situation, we have been reviewing our cooperation with Nepal...This means that the ongoing projects continue, but pipeline projects [like EFA] for the time being will be on hold," said Guy Banim, member of an EC delegation to Nepal.

Banim said EU wants to work on the basis of the EU-Nepal Cooperation agreement, 1996, in which the two sides accepted respect for human rights and democratic principles. The aid would have benefited, through scholarships and textbooks, thousands of Dalit children and those belonging to other disadvantaged communities in the country. Experts say Nepal's EFA goals cannot be met without additional efforts like free textbooks, scholarships and increased teachers' salaries.

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