Bangladesh will allow India to use its soil to transmit 6,000 megawatt of power from Assam to Bihar via Dinajpur through a new electricity network, officials said yesterday.
A committee has been formed to explore the feasibility of transmitting power from Rangia Raota in Assam to Borakpur in Bihar through Barapukuria of Dinajpur, and asked to submit its report in six months.
Power Secretary Monowar Islam said this at a press briefing after the seventh meeting of Bangladesh-India joint steering committee on cooperation on power at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the capital.
He, however, couldn't say how Bangladesh will benefit by letting its neighbour use its soil for transmitting power.
"Now, I can only say that we will get some power from it," he said.
India plans to start transmitting power via Bangladesh from 2017, said officials.
Bangladesh can benefit financially from the transmission of power, as India will pay it wheeling charge, should the project go ahead.
For example, Power Grid Company of Bangladesh, which transmits power all over the country, gets about 22-23 paisa per kilowatt as wheeling charge from the PDB for carrying about 500MW electricity from India to Bangladesh, said one of the officials.
Indian Power Secretary PK Sinha, who led a five-member
delegation at the two-day talks, said there is huge hydropower potential in the northeast. Arunachal Pradesh can alone produce 50,000MW electricity from hydropower projects.
"A number of projects are going on. When those are ready to generate power, it has to be transmitted to India and also to Bangladesh," he said at the briefing.
A PDB source said Bangladesh might get around 1,000MW of power from the 6,000MW to be transmitted via Bangladesh.
Sinha said there was scope for carrying another 25MW to 30MW power through the existing line between the two countries.
"India has agreed to supply the additional electricity that can be carried through this line," he said.
Bangladesh has already sought 30-40MW electricity from India's state-owned NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam to make up for the systems loss in transmission of 500MW power it imports from India.
It now actually receives around 470MW electricity from India under the power-import deal, said PDB sources.
Sinha said: "We have left it entirely to Bangladesh to procure it [power] from Indian market either through a new contract or expanding the scope in the existing contract."
At the secretary-level meeting, Bangladesh also sought 100MW electricity from Palatana power project in Tripura.
Monowar said: "We have agreed in principle to import 100 megawatt of electricity from Palatana in Tripura."
Referring to the issue, Sinha said: "We are looking at it very positively. We have constituted a committee of experts, which will give its reports in three months."
Monowar said the Bangladesh officials also had discussions with their Indian counterparts about importing another 500MW power.
On this, Sinha said Bangladesh must upgrade the substation at Bheramara to import the additional 500MW electricity.
A technical team has been set up, and it will submit a report in three months, he said.
The Indian power secretary said everything was in place to start the work of Rampal power project, a Bangladesh-India joint venture.
He, however, didn't specify the tariff for power to be produced at the coal-based plant.
Sinha mentioned that electricity tariff was around Tk 6.5 to Tk 7 a kilowatt at coal-based thermal power plants in India.
"The tariff of power from Rampal plant should be a little more than that," he said.
There have been positive developments on power cooperation among India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, said the senior Indian official.
The Indian foreign ministry will convene a meeting in Delhi in May, in which the four countries will take part, he added.
Bangladesh is keen to import electricity from India and other South Asian neighbours to meet its electricity demand, which grows around 12 percent annually, according to PDB officials.