Agartala, June 24 (IANS) Electricity-starved Bangladesh will begin receiving 100 MW of power from Tripura from early January. This will be in addition to the 500 MW it already receives from West Bengal and a like amount that is on the cards from the state – for a total of 1,100 MW – as the two countries enter a new phase of bilateral cooperation for regional benefit.
The power from Tripura will flow with the completion of 65 transmission towers in the northeastern state by December-end, a minister said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the power supply from Tripura with his Bangladesh counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, during his visit to Dhaka on June 6-7. Modi has declared that India would enhance the supply of power to Bangladesh from the existing 500 MW to 1,100 MW.
The union government-owned Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) “has already completed 20 of the 65 transmission towers in southern and western Tripura. “The remaining 45 transmission towers and related works would be completed by December,” Tripura Power Minister Manik Dey told IANS after holding meetings with PGCIL engineers and officials.
“I have asked the PGCIL authorities to expedite the works to fulfil our commitment given to Bangladesh about supplying 100 MW of power,” he added.
The minister said PGCIL would erect around 20 km of transmission lines in Tripura, while the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) would lay 27 km of transmission line on its side.
Both the prime ministers welcomed the steps being taken to augment supply of power through Baharampur in West Bengal and Bheramara in Bangladesh, grid inter-connection from 500 MW to 1,000 MW and to operationalise the supply of 100 MW from southern Tripura’s Palatana power plant to Bangladesh.
“Both prime ministers directed the concerned officials to complete the work in a time-bound manner. To enhance power grid connectivity as envisaged in the framework agreement, Modi agreed in principle to consider Bangladesh’s proposal to allow import from India to Bangladesh additional power in a phased manner through construction of an additional grid interconnection on western side of Bangladesh,” said the India-Bangladesh declaration in Modi’s visit.
Tripura Power Minister Dey said that Indian and Bangladeshi officials, after a series of meetings, finalised the various technicalities and mechanisms to supply 100 MW of power from Tripura.
“While erecting new power transmission lines from (western Tripura’s) Surjyamaninagar power grid to Comilla (in eastern Bangladesh) power grid to supply the power, human habitations, forests and other vital installations would be avoided,” Dey added.
Officials and engineers of PGCIL, Central Electricity Authority, Tripura State Electricity Corporation Limited (TSECL), PGCB and Bangladesh Power Development Board are now in a close touch to complete the transmission lines between the two countries at the earliest.
M.K.Chowdhury, the TSECL’s director (Technical), said the Indian government has submitted a proposal to send power from the northeast region to others parts of India via Bangladesh. “No formal decision has been taken so far in this regard,” he added.
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar had earlier said that after the completion of two mega gas-based power projects, 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 south of Agartala, while the state-run North East Electric Power Corporation is setting up a 104 MW project at Monarchak in western Tripura, 70 km south of Agartala, and only eight km from the India-Bangladesh border.
The Palatana project 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 supply 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 Feb 28, 2012, to supply electricity, following an agreement signed during Hasina’s visit to New Delhi in January 2010.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)