South Asia

Published: Tuesday 15 July 2008

Another disputed dam: After Baglihar, Kishanganga dam has embroiled India and Pakistan in a water dispute. Union minister of state for power Jairam Ramesh recently asked the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) to expedite work on the 330-mw Kishanganga power project in Jammu and Kashmir, citing that Pakistan is also constructing a power project on the Kishanganga river, called Neelum across the Line of Control. Pakistan's Water and Power Development Authority has recently started work on 969-mw Neelum Jehlum hydel project. Pakistan claims the Kishanganga project will reduce the generation capacity of its plant.

Despairing Afghanistan: Governors of four drought-hit provinces in Afghanistan--Kunduz, Baghlan, Takhar and Badakhshan--have warned about a possible "humanitarian catastrophe" unless the food needs of their people are met. The governors, who met on June 10 in Kunduz Province, said tens of thousands of poor households were increasingly facing food-insecurity because of rising food prices. In January, the UNWFP agreed to distribute 88,000 tonnes of food aid for 2.55 million "highly food-insecure" Afghans until June 2008. Only 31 per cent of the planned aid has been distributed so far because of insurgency and harsh climate.

Petroleum fix: Sri Lanka's petroleum minister, A H M Fowzie, has sent notices to the Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) on a possible takeover of its filling stations. Speaking in Parliament, Fowzie said the government was incurring heavy losses by selling diesel and kerosene at low prices. LIOC has avoided the crisis by selling diesel at higher prices and by stopping its sale of kerosene oil but now almost all consumers come to government-owned filling stations, Fowzie explained. In the notices, Fowzie asked LIOC to sell fuel at prices set by the government for its Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. LIOC's managing director told a newspaper the company was unable to sell fuel at CPC prices.

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