PM unveils 9,000 MW power import plan from neighbours
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said Bangladesh plans to import 9,000 MW power by 2041 from neighbouring countries, expecting New Delhi to stay beside this endeavour in a video conference with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
“We plan to import 9,000 MW of electricity from our neighbours by 2041 under a regional cooperation framework and I hope that India will be by our side in this endeavour,” she said jointly inaugurating with Modi three projects in power and railway sectors.
Sheikh Hasina added that steps have been taken to immediately import 3,000 MW more from India as Bangladesh currently imports 660 MW from there, reports BSS.
The Indian prime minister, on the other hand, said with the opening of three projects a golden chapter has been opened up.
“From today we became closer and our relationship has been deepened further,” he said.
The Bangladesh premier was at her Ganobhaban official residence during the conference and Modi was at his office in New Delhi while chief ministers of West Bengal and Tripura Mamata Banerjee and Biplab Kumar Deb joined the conference from their respective state capitals.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali spoke on the occasion.
Two of the projects opened through the conference today were on railway sector while the rest involved the power sector cooperation under which India would export 500 MW additional power through Behrampore-Bheramara interconnection.
The event marked the groundbreaking of Agartala-Akhaura railway link and groundbreaking for rehabilitation of Kulaura-Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railways.
The two prime ministers along with the West Bengal and Tripura chief ministers opened the three projects by unveiling the e-plaques.
Law Minister Anisul Haque, Railways Minister Md Mazibul Haque, PM’s Political Affairs Adviser HT Imam, International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, and Energy Adviser Dr Towfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury were present on Bangladesh side during the conference.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid Bipu, PM’s Principal Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque and Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla were also present at Ganabhaban, among others.
The Bangladesh prime minister thanked Narendra Modi for supporting Bangladesh in its development pursuit particularly in energy and power sector which she said appeared as a crucial element of bilateral cooperation.
She said the West Bengal chief minister by now pledged to export 1000 MW more electricity to Bangladesh and expected the Indian premier to give his consent in this regard.
Sheikh Hasina said her government was building additional 55 power plants with 13,690 MW power generation capacities but “we need more energy to sustain our high economic growth”.
She pointed out that Bangladesh’s power generation capacity now exceeded 20,000 MW while it was 3,200 MW nine and a half years ago.
In the recent years, she said, the two nations witnessed remarkable progress on cooperation in a host of areas, including trade and commerce, power and energy, connectivity, infrastructure development and people-to- people contact.
“We have maintained our good ties and also ventured into new areas such as blue economy and maritime cooperation, nuclear energy, cyber security, space research and so on,” she said.
The premier said the two countries experienced enhanced cooperation in railway sector as well “and are now working to re-open pre-1965 railway links for cargo transport between Bangladesh and India”.
“I hope that we will soon jointly inaugurate the groundbreaking ceremonies for construction of the 3rd and 4th dual gauge rail track between Dhaka and Tongi, and doubling of the dual gauge tracks between Tongi and Joydevpur” with Indian line of credit (LOC), she said.