Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Two coal committee members to attend SAARC coal conference

NewAge, Dhaka, Bangladesh. September 18, 2007

The government is likely to send two members of the high-powered advisory committee, formed to finalise the coal policy, to attend a SAARC technical conference on coal to be held in Kolkata on October 12. The energy division has recommended to the government that Professor Nurul Islam, director of the BUET’s Institute of Appropriate Technology, and Professor Badrul Imam of the Department of Geology of Dhaka University should attend the conference. ‘Both the experts have expressed interest in attending the one-day conference as it will help them to give more input, based on the other SAARC countries’ experience, to the proposed coal policy,’ said a source in the division.

The members of the 11-member advisory committee, headed by former BUET vice-chancellor Abdul Matin Patwari, are scheduled to visit three coal-fields on Friday before the committee scrutinises every paragraph of draft of the coal policy submitted by the energy division.

The committee has so far held more than five meetings and heard the recommendations of various experts and professional and human rights groups. Professor Nurul Islam, meanwhile, has been appointed the chairman of the board of governance of the SAARC Energy Centre that was set up in Islamabad in 2006. The chairman of the board is selected for three years from each member-country in alphabetical order.

The centre has taken steps to conduct a study on regional energy trade, which will be financed by the Asian Development Bank, while another programme will be launched on the experts’ capacity building. The primary objective for the establishment of the centre is to have a regional institution for the initiation, coordination and facilitation of SAARC energy programmes, said energy officials of Bangladesh.

Other objectives include strengthening the region's capability to address global and regional energy issues by enhancing the coordination of energy strategies of the SAARC states, and facilitating intra-regional trade in energy by the establishment of interconnecting arrangements for electricity and natural gas, such as the proposed power grid and trans-national gas pipelines.

The centre will also promote cooperation in energy efficiency and conservation as effective mechanisms for demand-side management, the development of new and renewable energy resources for sustainable energy development in the SAARC states over the long term.