Dhaka and New Delhi have agreed in principle to explore possibility of developing an interconnection for electricity transmission line involving Bangladesh and India’s north-eastern and north-western side.
This agreement in principle came at the 7th meeting of the Joint Steering Committee on Power Sector Cooperation held at a local hotel. Bangladesh Power Secretary Monwar Islam and Indian Power Secretary Prodeep Kumar Sinha led their respective side at the meeting.
As per the decision of the meeting, Bangladesh has agreed to provide corridor to use its land for electricity transmission from India’s north-eastern side to north-western side.
Briefing on the proceedings of the meeting, Indian power secretary PK Sinha said: “We’ve taken some progressive decisions… a very historic decision has been taken by both side to explore the possibility of interconnection between north-eastern part of India and Bangladesh right through to India,”
He said the inter-connection transmission line will be capable of carrying 6000 MW of power for long-run and Bangladesh can also benefit from the interconnection line as there will be tapping point for Bangladesh.
Informing the keen Indian desire, Sinha said: “When we came to the meeting, we requested our officials to conclude the issue in the meeting.”
India is very happy with the decision as the joint steering committee approved a report of a technical working group on the issue and also constituted another technical team to work on the issue, he added.
The Indian power secretary informed that the technical committee, after very hard work, suggested three options for the transmission line and finally concluded the work by selecting one best possible option.
Officials informed that Arunachal-Assam-Barapukuria-Bihar route was selected for the best option where an 800kV transmission line will be built.
Supporting the statement of his counterpart, Bangladesh power secretary Monwar Islam said the decision was taken as part of Bangladesh plan for promoting regional interconnectivity.
Asked how Bangladesh could derive benefit from the transmission line when it will go from one Indian state to another through Bangladesh, Monwar said: “Regional cooperation is a win-win situation, there is certainly benefit for Bangladesh. We’ll get some power from this project, but details could be said only after a study.”
Replying to another question, he said this is part of Bangladesh plan and import of 6000 MW of power from regional connectivity was included in “our generation plan of producing 40,000 MW by 2030.”
Asked whether Bangladesh will be used as transit point for Indian power transmission from eastern side to western side, Bangladesh power secretary declined to discuss the matter further.
Indian power secretary informed reporters that India has agreed to provide 30 MW of additional power to its existing 500 MW now being exported to Bangladesh. This power is required for technical reason to support the transmission line. Bangladesh can take this power through extension of contract on 500 MW import or through fresh contract.
He also said India has agreed in principle to export another 100 MW of electricity from its Palatana power plant in Tripura and both side discussed positively to allow import of another 500 MW of electricity from Indian power market on commercial basis by strengthening the substation at Bheramara in Bangladesh.
Sinha said: “We are looking at the matter positively and the meeting decided to constitute a technical committee to examine safety and security of the Indian grid if the power is supplied to Bangladesh.”
He informed that the discussion about a joint mechanism between India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan and a meeting will be held in May in New Delhi by the Indian foreign ministry to explore way of power sector cooperation.
About the 1320 MW Rampal power plant near Sundarbans forest under joint venture with India, the Indian power secretary said that an Indian team has visited the site and they were “very pleasantly surprised” to see the site is completely ready for project implementation. The project side is fully available for the power plant.
He said now the joint venture company of the Rampal project will appoint engineers for the project and then the contract for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) will be awarded for the project.
“The effort for the NTPC and the joint venture company will be to install the first unit of Rampal project during or well before December 2018. This is achievable,” Sinha said.
Indian High Commissioner Pankaj Saran was present at the meeting.