Bangladesh and India to co-operate on hydro power projects
Dhaka and New Delhi have agreed in principle to set up hydro-power plants in India’s north-eastern states under joint-venture initiatives as the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company that was organzined for the installation of a 1,320MW coal-fired plant at Bagerhat in Bangladesh. Both Bangladesh and India could share the hydro-electricity that would be produced, officials said.
The steering committee on Bangladesh-India power trade last week set up a technical committee to explore suitable locations for the installation of hydro-power plants by joint-venture companies. Indian states such as Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya have huge potential for hydro-power production but there are apprehensions that rivers flowing into Bangladesh could dry up downstream because of the establishment of dams required for such plants.
Bangladesh and India’s power secretaries, who are chairs of the steering committee, set up in 2010 after the signing of a memorandum for power sector cooperation between the countries, held the meeting in Dhaka.
The committee reviewed a number of issues of Indo-Bangla power trade including progress in land development activities at Rampal in Bagerhat to set up the 1,320MW plant and the installation of high-voltage grid and a 500MW substation for power import from India.
After the meeting, the secretaries, Monwar Islam of Bangladesh and P Uma Shankar of India, met journalists at the secretariat. Shankar said that both the countries could jointly build the Tipaimukh dam to produce hydro-power.
Monwar said that Bangladesh would start importing 250MW of power from the central government of India this July through the Baharampur-Bheramara high-voltage grid. The power division and the Power Development Board in Bangladesh were making preparations to put to tender the import of 250MW of more power for Indian private-sector producers, he said.
The Indian power secretary on Wednesday visited the site in Bagerhat where the 1,320MW coal-fired power plant has been planned. Shankar told reporters that authorities would install a high-tech power plant having ‘very little impact on the environment.’ Local people, green groups and left-democratic forces are protesting at the project saying that the plant would destroy Sundarban. The Bangladesh power secretary, who had been director general of the Department of Environment until two months ago, said that the environment impact assessment for the project was posted online for comments.