South Asia

Published: Saturday 31 May 2008

On Kalabagh dam: Construction of the controversial Kalabagh Dam across river Indus will not begin without reaching a consensus among all the four provinces, Pakistans newly elected Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said at a media briefing.

Gilani, however, made it clear that the government will start construction work on other small dams and take immediate measures to overcome energy shortage in the country. The government will soon formulate a power policy, keeping in view the countrys electricity requirements for 10 to 20 years, Gilani said.

Since 1984 the issue of Kalabagh Dam has been at the centre of an extremely bitter controversy among Pakistans four provincesPunjab, Sindh, North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan. Though the project is still under consideration, in December 2005, Pervez Musharraf had announced he would definitely build the dam, in the larger interest of the country.

consumer concession: The Sri Lankan government will continue to force the market to give concessions to consumers, the minister of trade and consumer affairs, Bandula Gunawardena, said at a recent media briefing. The discounted price of a liquified petroleum gas cylinder would not be changed for the months of May and June, and if the international market prices fall, the price of a gas cylinder will be further reduced, Gunawardena said.

About rice, the minister said the government had to continue controlling the prices even though it did not want to. The controls will, however, be removed if traders, who hoard rice stocks, released them in the market and the market price settled at SLRs 60.

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