Bhutan, India to develop 10 hydel projects by 2020

Tuesday, 30 June 2009, 10:11 Hrs
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Kolkata: India and Bhutan will jointly develop 10 hydroelectric projects by 2020, according to Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigmi Y. Thinley.

"By 2020, the two countries have agreed to develop a little over 11,000 megawatts hydel power green energy through some 10 projects. One of these projects has already begun," Thinley said at a press conference here Monday night.

He added that the other projects are at various stages and through them "there will be substantial flow of green energy into parts of West Bengal".

On the impact of the global meltdown on Bhutanese tourism, Thinley said the industry shrank by 31 percent in the first half of 2009 but he was confident that it would revive fast as the downturn subsided.

Thinley said his country has not received much Indian investment so far but hoped that deepening of relations between two countries would lead to a substantial enhancement in capital flow from India.

"We have just drafted our new economic policy, which is to ensure an enabling environment for domestic investment and growth and secondly for foreign direct investment," he said.

The country is mainly looking at foreign direct investment (FDI) in sectors like hydel and information technology. Thinley said Bhutan could be an attractive destination for data processing as well as research and development.

"We have already started collaborating with Genpact, Infosys and Wipro," he added.

The country already allows some amount of FDI in financial, tourism and IT sectors.

"We are looking at new rules and regulations so that greater facilities can be provided," said the Bhutanese premier, who had a meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee earlier Monday.

"Bhutan is increasingly interested in collaborating with commercial captains and industrialists in Kolkata and northern West Bengal's Siliguri subdivision.

"We have talked about joint cooperation in development and promotion of Bhutan as an organic brand. We would like to flourish in producing and marketing organic food," he added.
Source: IANS
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