Cabinet okays power import, export
The cabinet yesterday approved in principle a memorandum of understanding with Delhi, seeking open-ended import and export of electricity with an option to purchase power from both public and private sectors of India.
A meeting of the cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also approved a proposal to amend policy guidelines for expanding private sector's participation in generating power.
Hasina asked the authorities concerned to increase scopes for the private sector to generate power to meet the growing demand of electricity. She also directed them to fix the price of electricity on the basis of production cost.
A team of Bangladesh delegates initialled the MoU between the governments of Bangladesh and India on cooperation in power sector during their visit to Delhi in November.
Prime minister's Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad yesterday said, "The government will sign an agreement with Delhi on the basis of this MoU during the prime minister's visit to India in January.
"As a result of the deal, both the countries will be able to sell or buy electricity from each other depending on availability, need and price of electricity," he told The Daily Star.
Asked how Bangladesh will be able to sell power to India when the country itself is facing severe power crisis, Azad said, "This [the deal] applies to a situation when Bangladesh will have surplus power."
The deal will allow Bangladesh to import not just 100MW power as proposed earlier but 400-500MW from India in the near future. Similarly, it allows the Power Development Board to sell power to India when it has surplus electricity.
Once the agreement is signed, it will take at least two years to install equipment for connectivity between the two countries.
Officials of the two countries have identified Iswardi as the best point in Bangladesh and Baharampur in West Bengal, India, for setting up the connectivity plants within the earliest possible time.
A four-member Indian team headed by a joint secretary of the Indian power ministry arrived in Dhaka on Monday and has held meetings with the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh and the PDB.
The meetings are a follow-up to the November 18-22 visit of the Bangladesh team headed by the power secretary.
The MoU also approves a joint venture power project between the PDB and the National Thermal Power Company of India, which will allow the two national companies to jointly set up power plants in the two countries.
The MoU will also allow cooperation between the organisations to develop human resources, with the National Thermal Power Company providing technical and management training to PDB staff in plant maintenance and operation.
The cabinet yesterday also approved a proposal for formation of Agrani SME Financing Company Ltd by turning small enterprises development project into a subsidiary of Agrani Bank Ltd.