Agartala, April 23 (IANS) Tripura has agreed to supply an additional 100 MW of electricity to Bangladesh, over the 100 MW of power the northeastern state is supplying to the neighbouring country, a minister said here on Saturday.
“Bangladesh government has sought more electricity from India to tackle its power crisis in the eastern part of the country. India’s power ministry wanted to know whether the Tripura government is ready to provide additional 100 MW of power to Bangladesh,” Tripura’s Power and Transport Minister Manik Dey told IANS.
“The Tripura government has already informed the union power ministry that the state government has no problem to supply 100 MW more of electricity to Bangladesh provided that ONGC must ensure the supply of gas to the 101 MW-capacity power plant at Monarchak,” he added.
A 47-km double circuit transmission line has been erected, linking the power grid at Surjyamaninagar in western Tripura to the Comilla power grid in Bangladesh, to supply electricity to the neighbouring country.
The 100 MW electricity being supplied to Bangladesh by Tripura from March 23 is in addition to the 500 MW Bangladesh is already receiving from India’s West Bengal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina, along with Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar on March 23, launched through video-conferencing from their respective offices in New Delhi, Dhaka and Agartala, the supply of 100 MW of power to Bangladesh and also the third international internet gateway (IIG) in Agartala.
The state-owned North East Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), under the union power ministry, commissioned the 101 MW capacity Monarchak project in western Tripura (just 10 km from the Bangladesh border).
The central government-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has also commissioned its biggest 726 MW-capacity commercial power project in southern Tripura’s Palatana, 60 km south of Agartala.
The Rs.10,000 crore gas-based Palatana plant, which supplies power to seven of the eight northeastern states, is a hallmark of the cooperation between both countries, as Bangladesh ensures smooth passage of heavy project equipment and turbines to Palatana through its territory by road and waterways from Haldia port in West Bengal.
“With the commissioning of Palatana and Monarchak power projects (both gas-based), Tripura is going to be a power surplus state. If we supply power to Bangladesh we will be able to earn additional revenue,” Dey added.
The minister, who was recently in Dhaka and attended a series of meetings to finalise the power tariff, said there are some issues about the supply of gas to Monarchak power project by ONGC.
“However, the gas supply problem would be resolved in a month or two,” he said quoting ONGC officials.
ONGC’s executive director S.C. Soni said there are “certain technical issues” to supply gas to Monarchak power plant, commissioned by the NEEPCO, a mini-ratna company under the union power ministry.
“Though we are almost ready to supply required gas to NEEPCO power plant, there are some technical and other issues to be resolved before supply of power to Monarchak project. However, all these matters would be settled soon,” Soni told IANS.
He said: “ONGC, which has been working in Tripura since 1972, has so far drilled about 206 wells in the state with almost half of them gas bearing. The company has undertaken a Rs.5,050 crore ambitious plan to drill more wells and to locate more gas in Tripura.”
Meanwhile, a Bangladesh government official said here that his government has taken a determined road map to increase the generation of power to a large extent in the years to come.
“My government has undertaken an ambitious plan to generate 24,000 MW power by 2021, 40,000 MW power by 2031 and 60,000 MW by 2041,” a Bangladesh government official told IANS in Agartala on condition of anonymity.
Indian and Bangladesh had formed a company – Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company limited – to set up a coal-fired 1,320 MW (660X2 MW) capacity power plant at Rampal in the country’s southeastern coastal area.
During his visit to Dhaka on June 6-7 last year, Modi discussed power supply from Tripura with Hasina.
Modi had declared that India would eventually enhance the power supply to Bangladesh to 1,100 MW.