Bangladesh has agreed to provide a ‘power corridor’ to neighbouring India to transmit around 6,000 megawatts (mw) of hydro-electricity from Arunachal in north-eastern India to Bihar in the north-west across Bangladesh territory.
India has agreed to provide 30mw of additional electricity to Bangladesh to ensure import of 500mw of electricity from India under the current contract.
At present, Bangladesh is able to get the maximum of 470mw of electricity due to transmission losses.
India has also agreed to provide 100mw of electricity to Bangladesh from Paltana power plant in Tripura.
Bangladesh facilitated transportation of heavy equipment to build the Paltana power plant.
These agreements were reached during the seventh meeting of the Joint Steering Committee on Power Sector Cooperation between Bangladesh and India at a city hotel that concluded Thursday.
India’s 6,000mw of electricity to be produced at hydropower plants in the Arunachal state will reach the Indian state of Bihar through Assam of India and Barapukuria in Bangladesh.
Thursday’s meeting, however, could not reach consensus on how much electricity Bangladesh would get from the transmission line in question for its being the facilitator of the power transmission.
At a post-meeting press briefing, Indian Power Secretary P Uma Shankar said the interconnecting transmission line would be capable of carrying 6,000mw of electricity.
“Bangladesh can be benefited from the interconnection line as there will be tapping point for Bangladesh,” he said.
Regarding the electricity transmission, Bangladesh Power Secretary Monwar Islam said the decision had been taken as part of the government plan of promoting regional interconnectivity.
The two countries also discussed positively facilitating the import of another 500mw of electricity by Bangladesh from Indian power market on commercial basis through strengthening the sub-station at Bheramara in Bangladesh.
“We are looking into the matter positively and the meeting has decided to constitute a technical committee to examine the safety and security of the Indian grid if the power is supplied to Bangladesh,” Mr Shankar said.
The Indian power secretary also said that a joint meeting between India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan would be held in May in New Delhi at the behest of the Indian foreign ministry to explore ways for power sector cooperation.
Mr Shankar also said that the first unit of India-Bangladesh joint-venture Rampal coal-fired power plant having generation capacity of 660mw of electricity would become operational by December 2018.
Electricity tariff of Rampal power plant would be around Tk 6.50-Tk 7.0 per unit (1 kilowatt-hour), he said.
The Indian team has visited the Rampal power plant site and was pleased to see that the site was completely ready for project implementation, said the Indian power secretary.
He said now the joint-venture company of the Rampal project would appoint engineers for the project and then contracts for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) would be awarded.
When asked about Bangladesh’s extent of benefit from India’s electricity transmission line, Monowar Islam said, “Regional cooperation is a win-win situation, there is certainly benefit for Bangladesh. We will get some power from this project, but details could be spelt out after a study”.
Bangladesh has decided for regional connectivity to reach the target of generating around 24,000mw of electricity by 2021, and 40,000mw of electricity by 2030.
Source : The Financial Express – BD