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Old September 6th, 2010, 04:34 AM   #21
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Indo-Bhutan cooperation talks
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A high level delegation team led by the foreign secretary, Daw Penjo, will be in New Delhi, India, for the annual Bhutan-Indo development cooperation talks on September 1 and 2.During the talks, the two governments will review the progress in the implementation of the government of India ( GoI) assisted projects in Bhutan during the 10th Plan.

The annual cooperation talks was preceded by the project monitoring committee meeting between the two countries in Thimphu on July 27 and 28 this year.

The GoI is providing assistance under the three-tier aid programme of Nu 20 bn for project tied assistance, Nu seven billion for small development programme and another seven billion as programme grant in the 10th plan. The GoI has so far released Nu 9.653 bn to Bhutan against the total commitment of Nu three billion.

Foreign secretary, Daw Penjo, will also call on the foreign secretary of India, Mrs Nirupama Rao.
http://www.kuenselonline.com/modules...icle&sid=16581
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Old September 26th, 2010, 09:09 AM   #22
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Bhutan aims to triple tourism in two years
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NEW DELHI (AFP) – Bhutan, a remote Himalayan nation that charges tourists hundreds of dollars a day to visit, wants to triple the number of foreign visitors by 2012, the prime minister has said.

The insular Himalayan kingdom, famed for its adoption of "gross domestic happiness" as the key measurement of its success, has so far targeted visitors with deep pockets in a deliberate policy to promote "high value" tourism.

The online version of Bhutan's state-owned Kuensel newspaper said Thimpu expected more than 30,000 tourists in 2010 in a first step to meet an ambitious target of luring 100,000 wealthy tourists to the hilly country by 2012.

"We want to expand this sector without compromising our policy of high quality, low impact and not volume tourism," Kuensel quoted prime minister Lyonchhoen Jigmi Thinley as saying in a report dated 14 September.

"We?re doing quite well. The highest was in 2008 and, this year, we are definitely going to cross the 30,000 mark, possibly 35,000. And this is our starting year against the target of 100,000 tourists by 2012," he said.

Western visitors to Bhutan must pay a minimum of 200 dollars a day for visa and government-approved travel agency fees.

Economic growth in Bhutan slowed sharply last year to six percent as tourist numbers fell, the World Bank said in May.

It said the Buddhist-majority nation saw a seven-million-dollar decline in tourism income in the 2008/2009 financial year from 39 million dollars the previous year.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100915...20100915173507
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Old September 27th, 2010, 07:04 PM   #23
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Old October 6th, 2010, 03:44 PM   #24
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Bhutanese currency in circulation along India-Bhutan border
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The influx of Bhutanese currency along the Indo-Bhutan border in Assam is posing a serious threat to the local economy, as residents prefer it for their centuries-old cross-border trade.

Due to a lack of exchange offices in the border region, the Bhutanese pay in Ngultrum.

"I accept it because of compulsion. Here it is available in the denominations of 100, 500, 50, 10, 20 and five," said Pradip Yadav, an Indian rickshaw-puller.

Experts felt that the tendency would not lead to capital formation, expansion of business putting the locals in a disadvantageous position.

"These currencies are not acceptable apart from those (border) areas. So in that way capital formation can't occur. So further expansion of business or setting up of industry can't occur. It can be used only for trade and that too strictly with Bhutan," said Gautam Kumar Mazumdar, a professor of economics.

"Indians in that way are in disadvantage but still it is going on. Why sellers are accepting Bhutanese currencies and why Bhutanese are refusing to accept Indian currencies, that means our dependence on them, on their product is certainly more stronger," he added.

Bhutan is bound on three sides by the Indian State of Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
http://sify.com/finance/bhutanese-cu...gm4gbceah.html
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Old October 6th, 2010, 03:45 PM   #25
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Austria gives Bhutan $8 mn for electrification
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Vienna, Oct 6 (IANS) Austria has provided a $7.92 million (5.8 million euro) credit to Bhutan for electrification of its villages, the Austrian foreign ministry has said.

The loan can help over 1,000 households in 11 Bhutan villages at an elevation of over 3,000 metres to set up an electric circuit.

With support from Austria, by the end of 2013, Bhutan is expected to have all its villages connected with the electricity network, Xinhua reported.

Austria has been engaged in hydropower development and electrification of rural areas in Bhutan for the past 15 years.

Production and export of electricity are now the 'engines of the Bhutanese economy'. 'Currently, about 40 percent of government revenue comes from this area,' Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said Tuesday.
http://sify.com/news/austria-gives-b...gj4dbdfhi.html
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Old October 31st, 2010, 02:10 PM   #26
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A-I failure is Bhutan's flying hope
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Bhutan’s government-owned airline has adopted a loss-making international circuit that Air India abandoned eight years ago. Suicidal soar? No, insists Drukair or Royal Bhutan Airlines, not with the global dream riding on a local need – to provide the Himalayan country’s eastern half a faster way to
reach capital Thimphu.

AI had in April 2002 launched the once-a-week Guwahati-Bangkok flight with a “viable” target of 60 per cent seat occupancy. Poor demand put paid to the service within 15 months.

“We studied the pros and cons for two years before deciding to launch our Paro-Guwahati-Bangkok flight from October 31,” said Drukair’s CEO Tandin Jamso here Wednesday.

Paro, at an elevation of 7300 ft, is Bhutan’s only airport 58 km from Thimphu.

Jamso hopes the Rs 1.6 billion Drukair, with plans to fly to Hong Kong and Singapore, can sustain its “global via Guwahati” operation unlike AI.

One reason is Drukair’s inter-regional focus with Kathmandu, Dhaka and major Indian metropolises on the radar. Another – more important to Bhutan’s internal affairs – is eastern Bhutan’s communication bottlenecks.

Eastern Bhutan has six ‘dzongkhags’ or districts. Some 500,000 people across these districts have to travel 550-700 km via Assam and West Bengal to reach Thimphu. Drukair is banking on a quarter of the population to fly between Guwahati and Paro.

“It would be faster and more cost-effective for people of eastern Bhutan to travel 90 km from Samdrup Jongkhar (major town bordering Assam) to Guwahati and take the 50-minute flight to Paro than driving on the long and tiresome roads,” said Dasho Tsering Wangda, Bhutan’s Kolkata-stationed consul general.

The 19-year-old Drukair also hopes to cash in on the increasing trend of Indian, European and American tourists packaging Bhutan with the Northeast. “Our flight to and from Bagdogra (West Bengal) is doing well for two years now. This (Guwahati) should too,” said Jamso.
http://www.hindustantimes.com/A-I-fa...e1-618841.aspx

Bhutan Prime Minister's visit to India
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Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley arrived in New Delhi on Saturday on a five-day visit to India.

On Monday, he will meet with External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna at the ITC Maurya. Power Minister Sushil Shinde will call on him at noon.

The Bhutan premier will meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the same day at 5 p.m.

He is scheduled to call on President Pratibha Devisingh Patil on Tuesday, and would return to Bhutan on Wednesday. (ANI)
http://sify.com/news/bhutan-prime-mi...4sEhicjdh.html
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Old November 7th, 2010, 07:21 AM   #27
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ENCOURAGING GREEN OPTIONS
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THIMPU, Nov 6 (NNN-KUENSEL) -- With increasing emphasis on curtailing the risk of glacial retreat and its consequent impact over hydropower, the government plans to access alternative energy resources to ensure energy security.

The groundwork for the process of developing a road map for the country’s renewable energy has begun by formulating a policy that would direct the validation of instituting various forms of renewable energy in the country.

According to officials from the department of energy (DoE), the need to have a policy was felt, because of the government’s aim to shift to other alternative sources of energy, and diversify the risks arising out of overdependence on one resource.

Bhutan’s dependence on hydropower as the only source of electricity has been marked by seasonal disadvantages, forcing the country to rely on imports during its lean winter months.

“Renewable energy should be developed to fill the gap and reduce the risk of energy scarcity in the country,” said the chief engineer of the energy department Mewang Gyeltshen.

Though renewable energy, such as wind, solar and bio fuels, are considered environmental friendly and necessary, their establishment entails huge costs.

The director general of the department of energy, Yeshi Wangdi, said the cost of generating renewable energy is high, because of its complexity in terms of investment and use of different technologies.

Producing one megawatt of solar energy would require approximately more than one and half times the size of a football pitch to set up solar panels. This is expensive, considering soaring land prices, said Yeshi Wangdi.

Moreover, each form of renewable energy resources requires different levels of technological maturity, implementation and regulation.

For example, the formula that works for wind will not work for solar energy, said Mewang Gyeltshen.

Considering the high cost of generation and implementation, he said the government should think of providing incentives and subsidies to the companies venturing into establishing renewable energy sources. Investing in the establishment of renewable energy sources is not very profitable, he added.

Yeshey Wangdi said that, since the power of winds and sun is much stronger in winter, harnessing these energies can possibly fill the gap of winter power shortages.

He also said the main challenge facing wind energy is its intermittence. Since natural forces cannot be controlled for one’s advantage, we can only select the best sites and assess where wind resources are best to be applied and harnessed.

At present, the energy department has identified potential sites for the plantation of windmills; which include Chukha, Chelela (between Paro and Haa), and Wangduephodrang.

The policy is expected to be completed within the first half of next year.
http://namnewsnetwork.org/v2/read.php?id=138493
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Old December 14th, 2010, 03:31 PM   #28
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Easing out access to funds
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Bank of Bhutan 13 December, 2010 - Tourists carrying the MasterCard and Visa international credit and debit card will now be able to withdraw money from the Bank of Bhutan’s network of 23 automated teller machines all across the country.

“This will address one of the main complaints of tourists,” a bank official said. “They’ll be able to make payments for purchases through their cards, and also withdraw money in local currency.”

The initiative was in response to an executive order from the prime minister, directing the bank to make the use of credit cards possible in the country.

The initiative was expedited through advisory support from the Himalayan Bank of Nepal ltd (HBL). An agreement was signed in May this year between the two banks, wherein HBL would provide routing and consultancy services, as well as assistance in launching credit cards in the country.

The principle objective, according to the bank’s business development deputy CEO, is to enable tourists convenience ease in withdrawing and spending funds. Through this system, an international credit card holder need not convert his currency to dollars while visiting Bhutan. The system will facilitate all kinds of transactions in local currency.

In the first quarter of 2011, BoB will also be issuing MasterCard and Visa ATM/debit cards. This will enable a person holding a bank’s ATM card to withdraw funds from any MasterCard or Visa ATM in the local currency of any country they visit.

It can also be used online to make payments and through point of sale (POS) terminals.

The group country manager (India and South Asia), Uttam Nayak, said, the acceptance network will enable consumers within Bhutan and tourists coming into the country to enjoy various advantages and benefits of electronic payments.

“Visa will help support the overall economic growth in the country, as it has done in other parts of the world,” he said.

The Bhutan National Bank CEO, Kipchu Tshering, said the bank started accepting visa credit cards 10 years ago and started issuing it five years ago. However, withdrawal and payment transactions required the person to visit the bank, which was done manually through a manned counter.

At present, the bank is working on enabling withdrawal from its ATMs and also facilitating direct purchases through their cards. The bank is optimistic that the system will be in place within the next two months.

BoB has already set up card outlets in Hotel Taj Tashi and two other handicrafts shops in Thimphu, where the MasterCard can be used for purchases. The deputy CEO said, while the two handicrafts shops are skeptical about whether it will serve the intended purpose, Hotel Taj has shown confidence in it.

BoB will also be launching the Western Union money transfer, which is expected to improve convenience of easy remittance from any country into Bhutan, while also sending remittances to India.

Mastercards can be used to withdraw money from the Druk PNB’s ATMs in the country. The facility was formally launched last week.
http://www.kuenselonline.com/2010/mo...icle&sid=17676
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Old January 23rd, 2011, 01:38 AM   #29
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High-value, low-impact tourism development in Bhutan supported.
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UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, has expressed his support for the long-term tourism policy of Bhutan, with its focus on sustainability and quality, on an official visit to the country where he met with acting Prime Minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba. (Thimpu, Bhutan, 12 January).

The Royal Government of Bhutan considers tourism “a window of opportunity for the future of Bhutan” said Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba, during his meeting with Mr. Rifai. Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba pointed to tourism’s contribution to the economic security and Gross National Happiness - Bhutan’s measure of wellbeing - of the Bhutanese people.

Like many other destinations, Bhutan is facing “significant challenges and strong pressure for change” said Mr. Rifai addressing government officials, private sector representatives and members of development agencies during the seminar ‘Mainstreaming Tourism’, co-organised by UNWTO and the Bhutan Tourism Council.

“At UNWTO we acknowledge the tremendous pressure Bhutan is under to stimulate rapid growth in tourism and praise the government for its continued focus on sustainability and quality,” said Mr. Rifai. “The principle of high-value, low-impact tourism development, guiding tourism’s growth in Bhutan, is highly commendable and has undoubtedly contributed to the unique tourism brand of this country”.

A relative newcomer to the international tourism stage, Bhutan has made great achievements in its tourism development over the last decades, securing an international reputation as a top destination. The country has been a UNWTO Member State since 2003, in which time the two have partnered in the organization of various technical missions, projects and capacity building programmes for the development and promotion of Bhutan’s tourism sector.
http://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_nshw.php?mwi=8199
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Old June 10th, 2011, 06:54 AM   #30
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Cash in banks come from corporations
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Commercial Banks 8 June, 2011 - Deposit patterns clearly show corporate deposits is the main source of cash for commercial banks to do business.

Of the total deposit of Nu 53B in commercial banks ending December 2010, 68 percent were corporate deposits. Government deposits were 7.3 percent and individual deposits were 24.7 percent (see graph).

With the Bank of Bhutan, 47 percent were corporate deposits. It was 78 percent for the Bhutan National Bank, 97 percent for T-bank, 59 percent for Druk PNB and 65 percent for BDFC. In terms of volume, Bhutan National Bank has the highest corporate deposit with Nu 26B.
More: http://www.kuenselonline.com/2010/mo...icle&sid=19681
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Old October 15th, 2011, 06:31 AM   #31
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Bhutan's newly-wed royal couple 'walks' to capital
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Bhutan's newly married Royal Couple waded through a sea of people during their 13-hour journey today from the ancient city of Punakha to capital Thimphu, covering most of the 71 km distance by foot, as thousands lined up along the road to give them a rousing reception.

The 31-year-old Oxford-educated Wangchuck and his Queen Pema, who did her higher secondary schooling in Himachal Pradesh's Sanawar, skipped their lunch as they accepted greetings, congratulatory messages and simple gifts from people all along their journey that began as early as 7.30 AM.
More: http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/bh...capital-141320
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Old November 17th, 2011, 08:14 AM   #32
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Old February 25th, 2012, 03:48 PM   #33
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Bhutan Seeks More Tourists to Boost Economy

Rising incomes across Asia in the last decade have helped create millions of new tourists, eager to explore foreign places.

Bhutan, an Asian nation that has seen relatively few international visitors, is hoping to dramatically boost its tourism industry and provide a vital jolt to its economy.

Keeping traditions

Guests are welcomed by a Bhutanese traditional song of greeting as they arrive at the hotel in the capital Thimphu.

The kingdom, with its snow capped ranges and forested valleys, is preparing to draw more travelers interested in its Mahayana Buddhist faith and traditional artwork, distinctive architecture, forested treks and crisp clean air.

With a population of just 700,000, Bhutan is braced between Asia’s giants of India and China. Officials here have long sought to protect local culture from the influence of foreign visitors.

Tshering Tobgay, a resort owner in Paro Valley, 55 kilometers from Thimphu, says avoiding the excesses of mass tourism that have damaged or overdeveloped other locations in Asia remains a priority.

“The government is taking a very good initiative to promote tourism in a way that we don’t want a lot of people in one go. So we focus on high value and low volume. It’s a very good concept - that is a small country, we don’t want a lot of tourists to come in and spoil our culture and heritage likewise in other countries,” said Tobgay.

Limiting numbers of tourists

The number of foreign visitors has steadily risen over the years. The kingdom drew 400 tourists when it opened its doors to visitors in 1974. Four decades later, the total has reached 60,000, and the government is expecting 100,000 visitors a year by 2013.

The country charges most foreign visitors an all-encompassing fee of about $250 per day, which covers transportation, guides, room and board. The fee is aimed at limiting the numbers of visitors and ensuring the country receives only ‘high value’ travelers. A third of the total fee is budgeted for Bhutan’s education and health services.

Bhutan’s main source of foreign exchange remains hydropower electricity sales to India. But Kesang Wangdi, director general of Bhutan’s Tourism Council, says tourism is set to play a key role in Bhutan’s development.

“Tourism occupies one of the key priorities and attention of the government because of its potential to contribute towards a more equitable socio-economic development in terms of alleviation of poverty issues and employment generation," he said. "This potential to economically empower people at the grass roots level.”

Managing visitors

But the increasing number of visitors presents challenges for the largely rural and mountainous country. While the outside visitors bring much-needed foreign currency for local businesses, they also place stress on the country’s infrastructure.

“There’s a lot of infrastructure that needs to be built to support 100,000 people coming in. You’ve got to look at that from airport facilities then hotels," said Julie Beattie, a resort manager in Paro. The thing is to make sure that the infrastructure is not all centered on certain places - that is actually is defused across the Kingdom.”

While proponents hope that infrastructure development will lift the lives of Bhutanese, there are already worries about its down side. Plastic bottles and other non-biodegradable waste in streams and along trekking paths are troubling some visitors, says Bhutan’s economics minister, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchak.

“We feel now - what began at this crossroads - many tourists told us that ‘if we don’t take care of the trash on the trekking routes or the waste in the cities - I don’t want to spend 250 dollars to see this rubbish’,” he said.

Handling growth

He says the industry’s success in Bhutan will largely depend on how the country handles that growth.

Buddhist prayer flags flutter violently at Che Li La Pass, 3,810 meters above Paro valley. Bhutan Tourism Council guide, Phuntsho Gyeltshen, says preserving the culture that exists in Bhutan now is key to its success as a destination.

“Bhutan is still one of those places we probably dream or wish to see at some point in our lives you know," he said. "So I think this could be one of those destinations one should try and visit once in their life time.”

Tourist officials says that so far, the small number of visitors has meant little need for stringent guidelines on managing tourists. But as the number of visitors rises, authorities say they need more serious legislation and regulations to ensure the visitors do not spoil the environment, culture and traditions that have drawn visitors from afar for decades.

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/...140134753.html
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Old April 1st, 2012, 12:39 PM   #34
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image hosted on flickr

Bhutan temple and cherry blossom tree. by Devil.Bunny, on Flickr
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 11:53 AM   #35
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nice
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Old January 7th, 2013, 05:04 PM   #36
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TAT and Tourism Council of Bhutan Join Hands To Promote Tourism Among Two Kingdoms

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(PRWEB) January 07, 2013

The trip was organised following the agreement made during the 2nd Tourism Cooperation on 8th June, 2012, in Bangkok. The collaboration is comprised of Marketing Channels, Public Relations and Training Internship Programmes.

TAT also provided information for TCB’s possible participation at the Thai International Travel Fair hosted by the Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA). The Fair will be hosted twice a year in February and September to help promote Thailand’s tourism industry and to provide tourists with tourism products and services, both domestic and out-bound. The exhibitors are travel agents, airline representatives and members of National Tourism Organisations (NTO).
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Old March 21st, 2013, 06:43 AM   #37
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How This Small Country Inspired the International Day of Happiness
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Today, the entire world will focus on a movement begun by a country only half the size of Indiana. Last year, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution declaring March 20 the annual International Day of Happiness and called for everyone to celebrate through activities, awareness and education. Where did the UN get such a radical notion? Bhutan. This tiny country's philosophy, based on Buddhist ideals, encourages the world to believe that happiness can, and should, be accessible to all.

In Bhutan, only 35 percent of the population live in a town and only 21 of every 100 people access Internet. Of approximately 726,000 people, over 20 percent are considered rural poor. And yet this land and its people possess a wild and inscrutable spirit and rugged joie de vivre that leave modern countries seeming downright dull.
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Old April 10th, 2013, 07:39 PM   #39
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The World's First Organic Nation - Bhutan
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Recently, Bhutan, a tiny landlocked nation in the eastern end of the Himalayas, made headlines all over the world for an announcement made by the Bhutanese government which has now banned the sale of pesticides and herbicides within its boundaries. And by doing so, Bhutan has now become the first wholly organic country in the world. It is the one country in the world that has now taken a lead role on issues around the environment and sustainability, by shunning all but organic farming techniques.
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Old April 10th, 2013, 07:44 PM   #40
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India’s MEA to partly fund Bhutan’s hydropower projects
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Under the new funding plan, the projects will be developed by Indian state-owned firms such as NHPC Ltd, Tehri Hydro Development Corp. Ltd (THDC) and SJVN Ltd through joint ventures (JVs), with equal equity contribution from the Bhutan and Indian governments, said company executives and government officials. To finance India’s equity portion, equal contribution will be made by the Indian state-owned firm and the ministry of external affairs (MEA). “These projects will be built with debt-to-equity ratio of 30-70%,” said an Indian government official, requesting anonymity.
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India is helping Bhutan build 10,000 megawatts (MW) of hydropower with concessional finance, with the overall investment expected to be about $10 billion (around Rs.54,300 crore today).
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Of the 10 projects to be developed with India’s help in Bhutan, Punatsangchhu-I, Punatsangchhu-II and Mangdechhu projects are under construction.
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