Sheikh Hasina says Bangladesh plans to import 9,000MW electricity from neighbouring countries by 2014
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has expressed hope that India will help Bangladesh implement its plan to import 9,000 megawatt (MW) electricity from the neighbouring countries by 2041.
The Bangladesh government recently planned to import 9,000MW electricity from India, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan to maintain the country’s high economic growth.
Hasina’s remarks came after India on Monday afternoon began supplying additional 500MW electricity to Bangladesh as part of the two countries cooperation agreement regarding the energy sector.
The power transfer from West Bengal’s Baharampur grid to Kushtia’s Bheramara was inaugurated jointly by the prime minister from Ganabhaban in Dhaka, her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in New Delhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata via videoconference, reports UNB.
The 500MW power from Baharampur will be added to the national grid through a HVDC (2nd Block) Station in Kushtia’s Bheramara, which was opened by the leaders too.
At the time, Hasina and Modi, along with Tripura Chief Minister Biplob Kumar Dey, also inaugurated the construction works of two railway projects - Kulaura-Shahbazpur Section Rehabilitation of Bangladesh Railway and Akhaura-Agartala Dual-Gauge Rail Connectivity (Bangladesh part).
Hasina said Bangladesh already imports 660MW electricity from India and was preparing to import 3,000MW more.
“Bangladesh needs more energy to keep up its high economic growth and the government is planning to import electricity from neighbours under the regional cooperation framework,” she said.
She said that Modi would take necessary steps regarding Mamata's offer to supply additional 1,000 MW of electricity to Bangladesh soon.
In the last nine and a half years, Bangladesh’s electricity generation capacity went above 20,000MW from 3,200MW, Hasina said. “The Bangladesh government is building additional 55 power plants capable of generating 13,690MW electricity.”
Indian Prime Minister Modi also said that Monday’s event has brought the two countries closer and strengthened the bilateral ties.
Hasina at the time thanked him for supporting Bangladesh in its development pursuit, adding that in recent years the two nations witnessed a remarkable progress on cooperation in a host of areas, including trade and commerce, power and energy, connectivity and infrastructure development.
The rail projects
The two railway projects – Kulaura-Shahbajpur Section Rehabilitation of Bangladesh Railway and Akhaura-Agartala Dual-Gauge Rail Connectivity (Bangladesh part) – projects will be jointly funded by Bangladesh and India, reports BSS.
The Kulaura-Shahbazpur project will restore train link between the two countries as a part of the “Trans Asian Railway Network.”
About 53km dual-gauge rail lines, bridges and culverts, stations and infrastructures will be built and non-interlocked colour light signalling system will be set up under the project.
The estimated cost of the project is a little over Tk678.5 crore. Of the total cost, Tk556 crore will come from the Indian government under its Line of Credit (LOC) while Bangladesh will give the rest.
To mark Monday’s inauguration ceremony, a program was also held at the Kulaura Junction railway station, which was attended by local lawmakers and administration officials.
About cooperation in the railway sector, Prime Minister Hasina said that Bangladesh and India were experiencing enhanced cooperation and working to reopen the pre-1965 rail links for cargo transport between the countries.
She hoped that both sides would soon jointly inaugurate the groundbreaking for the construction of the third and fourth dual gauge rail tracks between Dhaka and Tongi, and doubling the dual gauge tracks between Tongi and Joydebpur funded by India under its LOC.
Under the second project, around 10km dual-gauge rail lines, culverts, passenger platforms, platform shades, customs and immigration buildings and rest houses will be built between Akhaura and Agartala, with an estimated cost of a little over Tk240.9 crore.
This project will be implemented with the Indian grant.
Apart from Hasina and Modi, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and the chief ministers of West Bengal and Tripura also spoke during Monday’s videoconference.
Additional reporting by Saiful Islam from Moulvibazar