Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dhaka Seeks Delhi’s Permission For Nepal, Bhutan Transit

Bangladesh has sought India's support for the import of electricity from Nepal and Bhutan crossing over Indian territory, as the country goes hungry for electricity to meet an ever-growing demand.

An official concerned said a high-powered delegation, led by additional secretary Md Mofezzal Hossain, sought the neighbour's help at a meeting of the Indo-Bangladesh joint working group held Monday in New Delhi.

Bangladesh is now negotiating with Bhutan and Nepal electricity import by launching joint-venture hydropower projects in the two Himalayan countries, the official said, adding that Bangladesh had already discussed the issue of importing electricity from the two countries at Saarc summit.

Talking on the matter of electricity import, power division secretary Md Abul Kalam Azad said they will also seek India's help at a secretary-level meeting, scheduled for today (Tuesday), to import electricity from Nepal and Bhutan.

"Bangladesh has set a target of importing 3500 megawatts of electricity from India, Nepal and Bhutan by 2030 through regional grid connectivity," he added.

At the meeting in New Delhi, the delegation also proposed launching joint-venture power projects in northeastern states of India.

On January 29 this year, Bangladesh Power Development Board and the National Thermal Power Company of India signed a joint- venture agreement to install a 1320MW coal-fired power plant in Khulna.

The working-group meeting also discussed the draft of a power- purchase agreement (PPA) on a joint-venture power plant in Khulna and import of 250MW electricity from the neighbouring country.

Bangladesh and India are likely to sign an initial pact on the PPA.

Besides, Bangladesh sought cooperation of India for importing 100MW electricity from Tripura.

During Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit in September last year, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar had assured Bangladesh of providing 100MW electricity from the north-eastern state.