Power transmission link via Bangladesh vital: Official

A top power company official has suggested erecting power transmission lines for supply of electricity from the northeast region to other parts of India via Bangladesh terming the proposed link as "vital".

"India and Bangladesh should have designated power transmission links and corridors to supply power between the two countries. The transmission corridors are vital to supply electricity from the northeast region to other parts of India via Bangladesh," said P.C. Pankaj, chairman-cum-managing director of the state-run North East Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO).

Pankaj told IANS: "There are power transmission links between West Bengal and Bangladesh. But there is no transmission line between the northeastern region and other parts of India via Bangladesh."

Another government-owned public sector company official also proposed laying of pipelines via Bangladesh to carry natural gas from the northeastern region to other parts of India.

Natural gas is found in abundance in the northeastern states, especially in Assam and Tripura.

Oil India Limited (OIL) director (human resource and business development) Nipen Kumar Bharali said: "OIL and ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) can undertake a joint venture pipeline project to transfer the gas from the northeastern region to other parts of India where demand is high."

"OIL and ONGC Videsh have already been working jointly in two blocks in Bangladesh," Bharali told reporters here Monday.

India has already announced it would supply 100 MW of power to Bangladesh from power plants in Tripura.

Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Dhaka Sandeep Chakravorty said: "Several steps have been taken regarding the Indian government's commitment to supply 100 MW of power to Bangladesh from southern Tripura's Palatana power plant."

Chakravorty, who was here on a four-day tour to Tripura last week, said: "The Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) would erect a transmission line from western Tripura's Surjyamaninagar power grid to Comilla (in eastern Bangladesh) power grid to supply the power."

He said that supplying power from Tripura to Bangladesh will be similar to the system between West Bengal's Baharampur and Bheramara in Bangladesh.

India had commenced supply of 250 MW of power to Bangladesh last year after the government-run Bangladesh Power Development Board and India's NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVN), a subsidiary of India's National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), signed a deal Feb 28, 2012 to supply 250 MW of electricity following an agreement signed during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to New Delhi in January 2010.

To provide power to Bangladesh, a 400 kV switching station has been set up at Baharampur in West Bengal. The cross-border inter-connection has been established between Baharampur (India) and Bheramara (Bangladesh).

A series of meetings have been held since last year in New Delhi, Dhaka and Agartala to finalise the strategy to supply power to Bangladesh from Tripura's Palatana power project.

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has commissioned its biggest ever 726 MW capacity commercial power project at Palatana in southern Tripura, 60 km south of Agartala.

The power generation from the first unit (363 MW) of the Rs.9,000-crore Palatana power plant began December 2013 and the second unit (363 MW) is expected to start generation by next month.

The Palatana project is a hallmark of cooperation between India and Bangladesh, which ensured the smooth passage of heavy project machineries and turbines to Palatana through its territory by road and waterways from Haldia port in West Bengal.

The state-owned North East Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) is setting up a 104 MW power project at Monarchak in western Tripura, 70 km south of Agartala, and just eight km from the India-Bangladesh border. The project is likely to start generation of electricity within the next three-four months.

Within the next three-four months, Tripura would be the second power-surplus state in India after Sikkim, once full generation starts from the Palatana and Monarchak power plants -- both gas-based projects.