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HT Correspondent HT Correspondent
Chandigarh, December 17, 2012
The Haryana and Bhutan governments have agreed to explore the possibilities of cooperation in the hydropower sector. Chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said this here on Monday after a two-day visit to Bhutan.
He said the state government was keen on investing in the hydropower generation sector in Himalayan kingdom.

"A delegation from Haryana will visit Bhutan to specifically delineate the mode of engagement with Bhutan in the area of hydropower development," he said.

He said the state government might enter into a joint venture agreement with the Bhutan government for investing in a hydroelectric project.

"The joint venture will be on the pattern of bilateral agreements executed by the Indian government. We hope to take 1,500-2,000 MW of power from Bhutan," he said.

"Hydropower from Bhutan will be available in the next four to five years from the joint venture project that will be set up by the state in Bhutan. This power will be economical as compared to the thermal power," Hooda said.

The chief minister said Haryana has, in return, offered to collaborate with Bhutan in development of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and livestock, urban planning, industrial and infrastructure development through technical assistance, capacity building, institutional partnerships, exchange programmes, technology and knowledge sharing, research and development, supporting establishment of pilot projects and catalysing investments through mutually agreed measures and instruments.

Hooda also announced to reserve five seats for admission to Bhutan nationals sponsored by the Bhutan government for five years in BSc agriculture course in Haryana Agriculture University, Hisar, and two students in BVSc course in Animal Sciences University, Hisar.

The Haryana government also agreed to bear the tuition fee of these students.

Hooda said Haryana and Bhutan had reached an understanding on pursuing a mutually beneficial economic collaboration in a number of sectors, including power.

"Haryana is the first state in the country to have traversed beyond the national frontiers and signed a mutually collaborative understanding with an independent nation state," he said.
The principles and areas of cooperation between the two sides had been enshrined in the minutes of meetings, which were signed in Thimpu by Dasho Sonam Tshering, secretary, economic affairs, Bhutan, and YS Malik, principal secretary, industries and commerce, Haryana.

The two sides agreed to constitute sector-wise core groups to take mutual understanding further. A group comprising Bhutanese officials from agriculture and livestock departments would soon be visiting Haryana Agriculture University.

The chief minister said the Congress government had increased the power generation capacity from 4,033 MW in 2005 to 8,497 MW in 2012.

"However, since there have been problems associated with availability of sufficient coal for uninterrupted operations of thermal power plants, we have started looking at alternative measures, hydropower being one such option," he said.

Other members of the delegation included Rohtak MLA Bharat Bhushan Batra, Ajit M Sharan, additional chief secretary, power, YS Malik, principal secretary, industries and commerce, and Tarun Bajaj, HSIIDC managing director.