Electricity flowing from India to Bangladesh through a new transmission line. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today (October 05. 2013) inaugurated the much-awaited Bangladesh-India inter- grid power connectivity heralding a new horizon of partnership and cooperation in power sector between Dhaka and New Delhi.
Under the project, a power transmission centre, a substation and 98-kilometre transmission line were constructed to import 500 MW power from India. There is an arrangement for expansion of the capacity of this grid substation to 1000 MW.
Addressing a function on the occasion at power transmission centre here, the Prime Minister said the power connectivity will introduce a new horizon in energy trade among the countries of the region and harnessing cooperation in other areas.
“With launching of electricity transmission, the cooperation heralded a new horizon between the two countries,” she said, expressing the hope that newer scopes will be explored in future for the welfare of the people of the two countries.
Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh joined the inaugural ceremony of the Bangladesh- India Power Transmission Centre through a videoconferencing and gave a goodwill speech.
In his speech, the Indian Prime Minister said he is extremely delighted for embarking upon the new partnership with Bangladesh in power sector and thanked the people of Bangladesh for this extraordinary accomplishment.
“The state of the art Rampal power station will be constructed following high- standards to protect the Sundarbans- a common heritage of both Bangladesh and India,” he said.
Terming Bangladesh as one of the fastest growing economies,Dr Singh said his country would stand beside Bangladesh as a long-term partner in the prosperity of her people. “India is also pledge-bound to implement all agreements singed with Bangladesh,” he said.
Extending her sincere thanks to India for support to power sector, Sheikh Hasina said India is our trusted friend. “The people of Bangladesh would never forget the cooperation and sacrifice made by Indian government and its people during our Great War of Liberation,” she said.
As a neighbouring country, she said, there exists a multi- faceted cooperation in the areas of economy, trade, culture and commerce between Bangladesh and India. Indian Minister for New and Renewable Energy Dr Farooque Abdullah attended the function as the special guest.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni, PM’s Advisor on Power and Energy Affairs Dr. Tawfiq Elahi Chowdhury, also spoke on the occasion.
State Minister for Power Brig Gen (retd) Enamul Haque, Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Power Subid Ali Bhuiyan, PM’s special assistance Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif, Power Secretary of India PK Sinha, Secretary of the External Resources Division Abul Kalam Azad, Indian High Commissioner Pankaj Saran, vice president of Asian Development Bank Bruce Davis also spoke on the occasion while Power Secretary Monwar Islam gave the welcome address.
On the occasion, the Prime Minister also laid foundation stone of 360MW Bheramara Combined Cycle Power Station and Moitree Super Thermal Power Project (Rampal 1320 MW coal based power plant).
Terming electricity as the prime mover of all socioeconomic development, the Prime Minister said adequate and reliable supply of electricity is an important pre- requisite for attracting both domestic and foreign investment.
Considering the necessity of electricity, she said, the government has taken the initiatives to increase power generation and import electricity from neighbouring countries.
Under the project, 71-kilometer transmission line was constructed in India while 27.35- km line and a 400 KV HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) grid substation were built on Bangladesh side.
Sheikh Hasina said for the first time, HVDC grid sub-station was built in Bangladesh. “It will contribute significantly to enhance the capacity of power sector engineers,” she hoped, saying her government is also negotiating with Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan to import electricity.
The Prime Minister said her party in last election manifesto, had a pledge to recover the acute electricity crisis the country was facing. “At the end of our tenure, we can now claim that we have kept our promise.”
She said in 2009, when the present government took office, daily electricity production was only 3200 megawatt. Now the production reached up to 6,675 megawatt. As a long-term plan, she said, the government has undertaken a master plan to produce 20,000 megawatt electricity by 2021.
“During the last four and a half years, a total of 57 power plants with capacity of producing 4,432 megawatt were commissioned at public and private initiatives,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said 33 more power plants with a capacity of 6,569 megawatt are under construction. Tenders are being floated for 19 power plants with a capacity of 3974 megawatt. Preliminary work is underway to set up nine more power plants having a capacity of 3,542 megawatt, she said.
The Prime Minister said along with generation, the country has made remarkable progress in the distribution system.
Some 9,000 kilometre transmission lines and three lakh kilometre distribution lines have been installed with setting up of 20 grid sub-stations.
Sheikh Hasina said some 34 lakh new consumers were given electricity connections across the country reaching the electricity coverage to nearly 62 percent.
“The revenue income in power sector also increased through reducing system loss,” she said. Pointing out her government’s stride to produce renewable energy, the Prime Minister said as many as 30 lakh solar systems were installed in the country.
Nearly 100 megawatt solar-based electricity is being produced covering the remote and inaccessible areas.
In this regard, the Prime Minister Hasina also mentioned the foundation laying of Nuclear Power Plant at Rooppur in Ishawardi. In this area Bangladesh has set a milestone as only 27 countries in the world have such capacity as of now, she said. Laying importance on sustainable energy production based on diversification of fuel like coal, nuclear energy and renewable energy, Sheikh Hasina said, “Our electricity generation is mainly gas-dependent. But the reserve of our natural gas is limited. That is why we are shifting towards coal-based power plants.”
The Prime Minister said the government has taken programmes to set up 13 coal- based power plants in the country including the 1320 megawatt Rampal coal-fired thermal power plant. China and Malaysia will set up two more big coal-fired power plants in Bangladesh, she said.
Ruling out the claim of some quarters about the effects of Rampal power plant on the Sundarbans, Sheikh Hasina said the government has approved Rampal Project assessing all possible impacts on environment and ecology.
“A certain quarter is trying to create confusion among the people about Rampal thermal power plant. But, I want to state that I personally never approved in the past or will approve in future any project that will harm the environment and ecology of our country,” she said.
“We have taken highest measures so that Rampal power project does not cast any adverse impact on the Sundarbans. High quality coal and latest technology will be used to minimise the air and water pollution,” she said.
She said the present government is making relentless efforts to build a happy and prosperous nation through reaching education, healthcare, food and electricity to every household.
“Today, Bangladesh is a success story and role model for the developing world in areas such as poverty alleviation, universal education, women empowerment, improvement of child and maternal health care, and maintaining commendable economic growth and macro-economic stability,” she said.