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July 25, 2007

India-built biogas plant completed in Myanmar
An India-built biogas plant in Myanmar has been completed and will be commissioned soon to electrify a village in northern Mandalay division, Yangon Times reported July 25.

The Pesinngone plant in Mingyan, built by India's Tele Corporation, is part of the cooperation projects of a sub-regional socio-economic group - Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). The bloc has India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.

About 200 households in Kokke village will soon be electrified by the gas generated from the plant, officials of the Ministry of Energy were quoted as saying. India presently holds the chairmanship of the group.

There are a total of 13 sectors of cooperation, including trade and investment, technology, energy, transportation and communication, tourism, fisheries, poverty alleviation, agriculture, cultural cooperation, counter-terrorism and crime, environment and disaster management, public health and people-to-people contact.

Myanmar is to take over the chairmanship of the BIMSTEC from India in 2008 under the rotation system in alphabetical order.

Joined later in 2004 by Bhutan and Nepal, BIMSTEC was formed in 1997 by the five countries of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand around the Bay of Bengal with the objective of promoting multi-sectoral cooperation for economic and social progress of the region, initially outlining six areas of cooperation in 1999, which were later increased to 13 in 2006.

The first summit of the group was held in Bangkok in 2004, while the second is scheduled in New Delhi in February 2008. With a population of over 1.3 billion accounting for 21% of the world population, BIMSTEC registered a gross domestic product of US$750 billion and a trade volume of US$33 to 59 billion under the BIMSTEC free trade area scheme. Xinhua

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