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India and Bangladesh In Biggest Ever Coal Joint Venture

Bangladesh on Saturday signed its biggest ever joint venture agreement with India involving investment $1.6 billion for 1,320 MW coal-fired power plant which is expected to be operational in the next five years.

“This will be the largest investment Bangladesh ever had … this will be cheapest source of energy (after hydropower) to accelerate the country s economic growth,” Prime Minister’s energy affairs adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said at the signing ceremony at the Biddut Bhaban.

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said the event reflected the development in sub-regional cooperation. The two countries signed three deals under the pact floating Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company (PvT) Limited to run the plant at Rampal of Bagerhat while the two others were Power Purchase Agreement and Implementation Agreement.

Under the agreements, 70% of the investment would come as loan from market while Bangladesh Power Development Board and India’s power producer NTPC would provide equally the rest of the amount. A supplementary joint venture agreement floating the company was signed by BPDB chairman Abdual Wahab Khan and NTPC Chairman and Managing Director Arup Roy Choudhury while the two others agreements were signed by officials concerned of the two countries.

Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pankaj Sharan, Bangladesh premier s principal secretary Shaikh Mohammad Wahiduzzaman, India s Power Secretary P Uma Shankar and his Bangladesh counterpart Monwar Islam were present on the occasion. The deal came against the backdrop of Bangladesh plans to provide access to power to all by 2021.

The country would require 24,000 MW by then. With current generation of over 6000 MW, about half of population has access to power. Bangladesh and India also earlier agreed to swap electricity while a deal was expected to be signed in next few months to import 500 MW from India while construction of a cross-border transmission line was underway, according to officials familiar with the process.

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