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South Asia

14/02/2006

pipeline blast: Suspected tribal rebels recently blew up a gas pipeline in Pakistan. This led to the closure of the nearby Uch power plant, which is owned jointly by the US and the uk, for the second time in January 2006. The blast damaged a 60 cm-diameter pipeline in the Dera Mura Jamali area of Baluchistan province. "It is an act of sabotage,' said Abdul Samad Lasi, a senior local administration official. He added that Baluch tribal militants were suspected to be behind the attack. Militants fighting for more control over Baluchistan's natural resources, including oil and gas, carried out a similar attack earlier this month, which had caused the plant to be shut down. The plant sells electricity to Pakistan's Water and Power Development Authority.

lankan tea strained: Around 500 Sri Lankan tea factories are yet to comply with new European Union food safety rules, which came into force on January 1, 2006. The rules are aimed at preventing food-borne illnesses by applying science-based controls, for raw material and finished products. Only 11 Sri Lankan factories were certified as complying with the new rules while 20 more are expected to be ready presently, the Sri Lanka Tea Board said. Another 85 factories have also begun work on upgrading their standards. Tea is Sri Lanka's biggest commodity export.

cow dung fuel: The use of cow dung fuel has gained ground in Barisal region of Bangladesh recently. Its increasing popularity owes to inadequate availability and high price of liquified petroleum gas and the erratic power supply. Even towns are turning to cow dung for fuel, as it is a pollution-free and risk-free fuel. Gazi Muhammed Selim, an officer of the Barisal Agriculture Extension Department, said that over 15 lakh women and children were directly involved in the cow dung fuel business. Local people felt that if the government or NGOs extend financial help to cow dung fuel makers, it could play a vital role in managing the countrywide fuel crisis.

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