According to official sources, the Indian company, GMR, has been engaged in setting up a 1,600 MW hydro power plant in Nepal utilising the hydro potential lying with the Himalayan basin.
The private company’s such huge power plant project will come into operation in 2019. Most of its power will be sold and supplied in the Indian market. If any potential buyer is found outside India, GMR has also a plan to expand its market elsewhere.
Officials at Bangladesh’s state-owned Power Development Board (PDB) said that having learned about the Indian company’s marketing policy, they contacted GMR and had discussions on power purchase from their Nepal project.
“We have proposed to import 500 MW of electricity from GMR’s Nepal plant. The company also agreed in principle to supply the electricity,” said a chief engineer of the PDB.
He also informed that the GMR’s offer is viable for Bangladesh. “But when Bangladesh started pursuing the issue with the Indian government, it is not getting any positive response from Indian side,” the official told UNB.
Wishing anonymity, the official said that the big hurdles which Bangladesh faces is the crossing of Indian corridor. At present, Bangladesh has agreement to import electricity from Indian market under which it has been importing about 500 MW of electricity, half from public sector and half from private sector plants.
“But when Bangladesh would move to import electricity from any plant in Nepal, it has to cross the Indian corridor. At present, Bangladesh has no agreement with India to cross or utilise its corridor to import electricity,” the official noted.
He also informed that Bangladesh has been pursuing to obtain Indian consent to utilise its corridor.
On different occasions, Indian policymakers, particularly at the political level showed positive outlook.
“But on the ground, the situation is totally different. The Indian bureaucracy is always found to be very hard and reluctant to talk on the issue, which ultimately impede Bangladesh’s efforts to import electricity from Nepal,” said another official at the Power Division.
He said a Bangladesh delegation led by the Power Secretary visited Nepal a few months back and discussed different issues, including power and power plant set-up in joint venture in Nepal with their Nepalese counterpart.
“Nepalese policymakers are showing good gesture about Bangladesh’s intention,” said an official who was in the delegation.
The official, however, said Bangladesh will raise the issue in the Bangladesh-India Joint Steering Committee meeting which is expected to take place in New Delhi next September.
The last steering committee meeting was held in Dhaka in April as there is an understanding such meetings will be held twice a year after every six months at alternate venue in Dhaka and New Delhi.
Source : Financial Express