Agartala, Dec 25 (IANS) India and Bangladesh have completed the erection of a transmission line to supply an additional 100 MW of electricity to power-starved Bangladesh, officials said. However, supplies would be delayed by a week or two as the two countries are yet to ink a power purchase agreement (PPA).
“Erection of a 47-km transmission line from western Tripura to southern Comilla in eastern Bangladesh has been completed. The Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) and the Power Generation Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) have tested the transmission lines on both their sides and found they are okay,” Tripura State Electricity Corporation Limited (TSECL) Deputy General Managar Mahananda Debbarma told IANS.
The PGCIL and the PGCB, both government-owned companies, erected the transmission lines in their respective areas for the supply of electricity from the Palatana power plant in southern Tripura.
“Earlier the supply of 100 MW to Bangladesh was supposed to be started from December 16 to keep in mind the celebration of Vijay Diwas. But the transmission lines were not ready and the plan could not materialise,” Debbarma said.
It was on December 16, 1971, that Bangladesh emerged as a sovereign nation after the surrender of 95,000 Pakistani troops at the end of the nine-month-long Liberation War in what was then East Pakistan.
“Discussions between the officials of India and Bangladesh are on to sign the PPA. The PPA would be signed soon and we are hopeful to supply electricity to Bangladesh in the first or second week of January,” the official added.
Indian and Bangladeshi officials held a series of meetings in New Delhi and Dhaka to finalise all the nitty-gritties of power supply except the tariff. The last two such meetings were held in New Delhi on October 26-28 and November 26.
PGCIL Deputy General Manager M.S.K.Singh told IANS that the company has invested Rs.90 crore to erect an 18-km transmission line on Indian territory and to provide compensation to the people for land acquisition.
The power will help Bangladesh to end the energy crisis in the country’s eastern part.
The 100 MW of power will be in addition to the 500 MW Bangladesh already receives from West Bengal. A like amount is also on the cards from the state, as the two neighbours enter a new phase of bilateral cooperation for regional benefit.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed power supply from Tripura with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina during his June 6-7 Dhaka visit.
Modi had declared that India would eventually enhance the power supply to Bangladesh to 1,100 MW.
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who initiated a few years ago the move to supply 100 MW of power to Bangladesh, had earlier said that after a new 101 MW gas-based power project at Monarchak (10 km from the Bangladesh border) is completed, at least 200 MW of power would be surplus in Tripura.
The central government-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation has commissioned its biggest 726 MW commercial power project at Palatana, 60 km from Agartala, while the state-run North East Electric Power Corporation is setting up the 101 MW Monarchak project in western Tripura.
The gas-based Palatana plant, which supplies power to seven of the eight northeastern states, is a hallmark of the cooperation between India and Bangladesh, which ensured the smooth passage of heavy project equipment and turbines to Palatana through its territory by road and waterways from Haldia port in West Bengal.
India had begun supplying 500 MW of power to Bangladesh in 2013 after the government-run Bangladesh Power Development Board and India’s NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVN), a subsidiary of NTPC, signed a deal on Feb 28, 2012, following an agreement signed during Hasina’s visit to New Delhi in January 2010.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)