India-Bangladesh transmission network to face significant delays
Delays on either side of the Indo-Bangla border in laying transmission facilities have cast a shadow on the timely launch of power trade between the two countries.
India is scheduled to supply up to 500 MW of electricity, through long-term agreements, to the neighbouring country via the international border at Baharampur in Murshidabad district of West Bengal.
Of the total, 250 MW will be supplied by state-owned NTPC Ltd at a regulated tariff.
Bangladesh may procure an additional 250 MW from the open market.
A crucial milestone of the bilateral agreement entered in Delhi in January 2010, the project was originally scheduled to be operational in 2012. As per the revised timeline, Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) and Power Grid Company Bangladesh (PGCB) are expected to complete the respective portions of the project work in May 2013 and July 2013, respectively.
DELAY BY PGCIL
However, information available suggests that local disputes in erecting two transmission towers, out of 197, may force PGCIL to miss the May 2013 deadline.
Slated to lay a 71-km high-voltage (400 KV, double-circuit) transmission network from Baharampur to Bheramara in Bangladesh, Power Grid has so far been able to complete only a 50-km stretch.
The company has, however, completed the rest of the project work, including a switching substation at Baharampur and a peripheral 2.5-km network.
The total project cost on the Indian side is estimated at Rs 160 crore.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh has also registered equally slow progress in implementing the Rs 737-crore ($156 million) transmission facilities.
The project is part-financed by the Asian Development Bank.
Sources suggest that the construction of a 500 MW substation (high-voltage, double-circuit, back-to-back station) at Bheramara may not be completed by the July 2013 deadline.
The project has been particularly impacted by the recent spate of bandhs in Bangladesh, affecting movement of imported equipment from the ports to Bheramara.
Of the 31-km transmission line to be constructed, PGCB has so far completed 27 km. The rest of the project is expected to be finished this month.