Agartala, March 4 (IANS) Tripura would supply an additional 60 MW of electricity to Bangladesh, over the 100 MW of power the state is providing to that country, a minister said here on Saturday.
The 100 MW electricity being supplied to the neighbouring country since March 23, 2016, is in addition to the 500 MW Bangladesh is already receiving from West Bengal.
“Bangladesh has sought 100 MW electricity from India to solve 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 Power and Transport Minister Manik Dey told IANS.
“Following the queries of the central government, we have at once informed the Union Power Ministry that the Tripura government was ready to supply 100 MW more electricity to Bangladesh.”
“However, Bangladesh has no infrastructural ability as of now to take additional 100 MW of power. Therefore, they would now take 60 MW of electricity after developing transmission facilities on their side,” he added.
“During my visit to Bangladesh in February last year, (Bangladesh Prime Minister) Sheikh Hasina requested us to provide additional 100 MW of electricity and I instantly agreed on the issue. I had requested her to approach the Indian government on the matter,” the minister said
“Though currently we are supposed to supply 100 MW of power, some times Bangladesh taking 110 MW to 115 MW of power to fulfil their requirement.”
A 47-km double circuit transmission line was erected, linking the power grid at Surjyamaninagar in western Tripura to the Comilla power grid in eastern Bangladesh, to supply electricity to the neighbouring country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina, along with Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar on March 23, 2016, launched through video-conferencing from their respective offices in New Delhi, Dhaka and Agartala, the supply of 100 MW of power.
Tripura Power Minister said that to supply the additional power to the neighbouring country, officials of India and Bangladesh would meet in Dhaka during March and sign an agreement.
Officials of Tripura State Electricity Corporation would also join the process.
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 already become a power surplus state. If we supply additional power to Bangladesh we would be able to earn extra revenue,” Dey added.
Meanwhile, NEEPCO Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) A.G. West Kharkongor arrived here on Friday to study the gas supply problem of the 101 MW capacity Monarchak project, commissioned by the NEEPCO, a mini-ratna company under the union power ministry.
“Due to insufficient supply of gas to Monarchak power plant by the ONGC, the project has been generating much less than the installed capacity,” Kharkongor
“However, the gas supply problem is expected to be resolved in a month or two,” he said quoting ONGC officials.
The NEEPCO chief said that due to huge delay in generating full capacity power from the project, the company has already incurred a loss to the tune of Rs 218 crore so far.
ONGC’s executive director S.C. Soni said there are “certain technical issues” to supply gas to Monarchak power plant.
“Though we are almost ready to supply required gas to NEEPCO power plant, there are some technical and other issues that are being resolved. However, all these matters would be settled soon,” Soni told IANS.
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 near future.
“Our 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 requesting not to be named.
India 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.
However, some environmentalists and local people opposed against the commissioning of the Rampal project, near Sundarbans in Bangladesh.
During his visit to Dhaka on June 6-7 in 2015, Prime Minister Narendra 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.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at [email protected])