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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bangla Power secy to visit India for energy talks

A top energy ministry bureaucrat from Bangladesh will visit New Delhi tomorrow for preparatory energy cooperation talks ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's India visit next month when the two countries are expected to ink a deal on power sharing.

"We are leaving here with a delegation tomorrow for New Delhi as part of preparatory works for the energy talks during the prime minister's forthcoming visit to India," Power Secretary Abul Kalam Azad said.

He said the Bangladesh delegation, which he would lead, would discuss the modus-operandi of importing at least 100 MW power from India as offered during the September visit of foreign minister Dipu Moni to the Indian capital.

Besides, Azad said, he would hold talks on equity sharing in a power project in Tripura as Dhaka earlier agreed to offer overland transport facilities through Bangladesh for carrying equipment for the installation.

"The SAARC power grid connectivity is another major issue, which we are expecting to discuss with our Indian counterpart and other concerned people in New Delhi," during the five-day visit.

The Daily Star newspaper quoting the state-run Power Development Board chairman Alamgir Kabir, who would accompany the power secretary, said they would also discuss future cooperation for human resources and technical development between the Bangladesh Power Development Board and its Indian counterpart state-run power producer NTPC.

He also said they would discuss if a technical team could be set up to scrutinise the issue of power inter-connectivity between India and Bangladesh and review the modalities of power purchase on short-term and long-term basis.

Energy-starved Bangladesh has long been hammering on setting up a SAARC Grid for regional power inter-connectivity so cheap hydropower could be imported from Nepal or Bhutan.

The energy ministry officials said the Bangladesh delegation would discuss the issue of equity sharing in the under-construction Tripura Palatana 750 MW power project, as India last year proposed through the World Bank, that Bangladesh could have an equity of 25 per cent to 30 per cent in the project.

The proposal got momentum as in September, Bangladesh, in prnciple, agreed to provide access to Ashuganj river port to facilitate overland transport facilities for the Palatana power project.

Experts earlier said the two countries would need to construct power transmission lines, build or expand bordering sub-station facility and take up other measures.

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