Bangladesh, India strike electricity corridor deal

The Bangladeshi and Indian governments tentatively struck a power co-operation deal for 2017 that would allow India to transmit electricity from its northeastern states to Bihar through Bangladesh territory. In exchange, Bangladesh would get a daily minimum of 500 to 1,000 in additional megawatts, the Daily Star reported.

Under the deal, reached April 3rd at the seventh meeting of the Bangladesh-India Joint Steering Committee on Power Co-operation, the two countries agreed to connect their distribution networks for the transfer of 6,000MW of hydroelectricity from Assam to northwestern Bihar via Boro Pukuria in Dinajpur, Bangladesh.

bd-indiaThe network ultimately would connect two other South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) members– Nepal and Bhutan– opening up hydroelectricity generation in the region, officials said.

There is huge hydropower potential in the northeast, said P.K. Sinha, secretary for India’s Ministry of Power, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT). From such projects, Arunachal Pradesh alone can produce 50,000MW.

“When those are ready to generate power, it has to be transmitted to India and also to Bangladesh,” Sinha told reporters in Dhaka.

Co-operation only option

However, the northeast power project will not be economically viable unless the two countries connect their grids or establish a power corridor in Bangladesh, said Professor Mohammad Tamim, head of the Petroleum and Mineral Resources Engineering Department at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.

“If Bangladesh can negotiate, it will help to meet a significant portion of our electricity requirement and change South Asia’s energy regime,” Tamim said the media. “Ultimately, our grid will get connected with the SAARC grids.”

While some question whether India would give Bangladesh its due share of electricity, others support the bilateral deal provided it helps Bangladesh meet its chronic energy shortage.

“We have energy constraints. I see nothing wrong in the agreement on electricity transfer over our land if India agrees to give us a share of the power, using Bangladesh territory,” Dhaka University student Asif Islam said.

-Khabar South Asia