Published On:May 20 2008
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PM says Rs 100-bn economic tie with Bhutan

Thimphu: Projecting a whopping Rs 10,000 crore economic engagement with Bhutan in areas like telecom, infrastructure and education, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh unveiled a mega plan for cooperation in the power sector.

'Our bilateral economic engagement with Bhutan will be of the order of Rs 100 billion... we should evolve a development and economic cooperation strategy that complements our mutual resources endowments,' Singh, the first world leader to visit Bhutan, told Parliament of the Himalayan country.

Singh unveiled plaques of two power plants in the courtyard of the National Assembly in Thimpu after an elaborate ceremony to appease dieties for the success of the projects, besides dedicating to Bhutanese people the 1020 MW Tala Project, commissioned in March 2007.

'The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa government is committed to generate 10,000 MW of hydro-power in the country by 2020,' Khandu Wangchuk, Economic Affairs Minister in the first-ever elected government said.

Outlining the future plans for the sector, Wangchuk said his government will work on other hydro projects such as the 990 MW Punatsangchu-II, 720 MW plant at Mangdechhu and 4060 MW Sankosh plant in close cooperation with India.

In his address to the first ever Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and National Council, Singh said, these projects would help India get the targeted 5,000 MW of electricity from Bhutan by 2020.

'Your Prime Minister told me that you are working towards achieving more ambitious targets. India will work with you in achieving those targets,' he said adding that the two nations will work on detailed project reports for four new projects.

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