12:00 AM, September 11, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:49 AM, September 11, 2018

9,000MW power to be imported by 2041

Hasina, Modi jointly open electricity interconnection

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi claps during a videoconference with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina as they jointly inaugurate three power and railway projects yesterday. Photo: PIB, India

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the government has planned to import 9000 MW electricity from neighbouring countries by 2041 to maintain the country's high economic growth.

She was addressing a ceremony marking the inauguration of 500 MW additional power supply from India to Bangladesh through Behrampore-Bheramara interconnection, reports UNB.

The Bangladesh PM, her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee jointly inaugurated the power supply via videoconferencing from Dhaka, New Delhi and Kolkata respectively.

The two prime ministers along with Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb also launched groundbreaking of Agartala-Akhaura rail link as well as groundbreaking for rehabilitation of Kulaura-Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railways through videoconferencing. Biplab joined in through videoconferencing from Agartala.

Speaking at the Gono Bhaban, Hasina said Bangladesh needed more energy to continue its high economic growth and the government was planning to import electricity from neighbours under the regional cooperation framework.

Hoping that India would remain beside Bangladesh in its endeavour, she said Modi would take necessary steps regarding Mamata's offer to supply additional 1,000 MW power to Bangladesh.

The PM said Bangladesh-India relations have now become a role model for the rest of the world. In recent years, the two nations witnessed a remarkable progress on cooperation in a host of areas, including trade and commerce, power and energy, connectivity and infrastructure development, she added.

Terming the power sector a crucial element of bilateral cooperation, Hasina said Bangladesh was importing 660 MW power from India while steps were taken to import 3,000 MW more.

Referring to her government's success in increasing the power generation capacity, the premier said the capacity has grown to 20,000 MW from 3,200 MW over the past nine and a half years.

About the cooperation in the railway sector, she said Bangladesh and India were working to reopen the pre-1965 rail links for cargo transport between the two countries.

She hoped the two countries would soon jointly inaugurate the groundbreaking for the construction of the 3rd and 4th dual gauge rail tracks between Dhaka and Tongi, and doubling the dual gauge tracks between Tongi and Joydevpur funded by India under its Line of Credit.

Speaking at the programme, Modi said India was proud to help Hasina realise the high goals, set by her, of transforming Bangladesh into a middle income nation by 2021 and a developed one by 2041, reports our New Delhi correspondent.

He expressed confidence that the India-Bangladesh development partnership would touch new heights in future.

He said he met Hasina several times recently, including at the Bimstec meeting in Kathmandu, in Shantiniketan, and during the Commonwealth Summit in London.

Modi said relations between leaders of neighbouring countries should be like those among the neighbours. “Talking to each other whenever we feel like and visiting each other whenever we want. Protocol should not come in the way of such interactions.”

He said India and Bangladesh has taken a series of steps to forge greater rail and power connectivity between them.

The Indian premier said during his visit to Dhaka in June 2015, he had promised to supply 500MW to Bangladesh and today 1.15 gigawatts of power was being transmitted using the grids in West Bengal. He thanked West Bengal CM Mamata for this cooperation.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj and the chief ministers of West Bengal and Tripura also spoke on the occasion.