S. Asian experts learn Indian infrastructure experience

Monday, 23 September 2002, 07:00 Hrs
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PANAJI: Electrifying villages in the Sunderban mangrove forests, power restructuring and private participation in the water sector were only some of the experiences that India shared with South Asia experts at a meet here.

The South Asia Forum for Infrastructure Regulation (SAFIR), set up in May 1999 with the backing of the World Bank, wound up a core-training program on "Infrastructure Regulation and Reform" in Goa Monday.

Senior officials and executives from public and private organizations in Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and Cote D'Ivoire attended the nine-day meet. In all, some 77 participants attended the training program.

Organizers said the Goa meet intended to "provide a platform for experience sharing" and "build regulatory decision-making and response capacity in South Asia".

Case studies from India included a regulatory system for the Indian oil industry; port restructuring in India; Delhi Vidyut Board restructuring and privatization experience.

Indian experts also cited experiences in electrifying the villages around the Sunderban forests with solar photovoltaic power plants and mini grids; and power reforms in Andhra Pradesh.

Other South Asian experiences included the Grameen phone project in developing service for the poor in Bangladesh; reform and regulation in bus transport in Sri Lanka; and private participation in the water sector in Nepal.

"This provides participants an opportunity to share the experiences of different countries in South Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, the U.S. and Britain," said Saltanat Kazi, the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) Goa spokesperson. TERI has been the professional partner of SAFIR since 1999.

SAFIR says it has already imparted training to over 200 participants from across the globe, including the South Asia, in its "aim to build regulatory capacity in infrastructure sectors". It is assisted by a steering committee from among the regulators in the South Asia region.

Indian participants at the meet included electricity regulators from Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and officials of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Tariff authorities for major ports, the regulatory commission from Karnataka, senior officials from the government of Gujarat and officials from public sector undertakings were also present.

Source: IANS
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