Thursday, 30 June, 2022

India seeks corridor for power transmission

Decision likely at next Dhaka-Delhi joint steering committee meeting

India is seeking a corridor to supply electricity from Katihar, Bihar to Bornagar of Assam through Parbatipur  in Dinajpur of Bangladesh.

This issue will be discussed at an upcoming joint working group and steering committee meetings, likely to be held on May 28-29.

A high-level team led by Bangladesh Power Secretary Md Habibur Rahman left Dhaka on Thursday for Delhi for the meeting on power sector cooperation between Bangladesh and India.   

In the previous power secretary-level steering committee meeting, Bangladesh said it is committed to supporting the implementation of the Katihar-Parbatipur-Boronagar transmission line.

However, the sharing data of hydropower projects with Bangladesh being lower a riparian country, legal, implemental, operational and security issues raised in the joint working group (JWG) meeting need to be addressed to facilitate the project.

India said the Katihar-Parbatipur-Boronagar transmission line is not specific to any hydro project and no riparian issues are involved with the proposed transmission line.

A six-member committee has been formed to examine the legal and operational aspects of the implementation of the Indian transmission line project, official sources confirmed.

The Daily Sun has reached a member of the committee who said the committee is also seeking data on projects supplying electricity from specific power projects through the proposed transmission line.

“Earlier, they (India) have a plan to supply electricity from hydropower projects from Meghalaya, which is our major concern for Bangladesh being a lower riparian country. But we heard they gave up the projects over local complexity. We want a win-win situation to make the idea fruitful,” the member said on the condition of anonymity.   

Earlier, Bangladesh had expressed concern that the transmission system may be used to evacuate future hydropower from NER, India and Bangladesh being lower riparian country, the issue also needs to be discussed in the Joint River Commission (JRC) of India and Bangladesh.

Bangladesh also raised the issue of security and operation and maintenance of the proposed corridor.

Bangladesh also proposed to sign a data-sharing agreement between India and Bangladesh to get different kinds of data to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study, hydrological and water modelling studies, and environmental and social impact assessment which will be required to get the approval of construction for the transmission line.

Bangladesh also proposed to refer the matter to a joint technical team (JTT) and India proposed to resolve the implementation issues through discussions between the Indian Power Grid and Power Grid Company of Bangladesh. 

Bangladesh mentioned in earlier meetings that transmission licensee of another country constructing transmission lines across the territory of Bangladesh is a new concept to Bangladesh. “As per the regulatory provision, PGCB, Bangladesh is the only authorized entity to implement transmission system in Bangladesh,” a competent source said.

If Bangladesh may allow India to use the corridor, it will require to have special arrangements to build the transmission line by Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd.         

An official of the Bangladesh Power Division also said India may also solve some unsettled issues including customs duties, tax and value-added tax to import 1160MW of electricity through cross border power purchase to get a win-win outcome.

The commercial operation date of Rampal Power plant may also be fixed at the meeting, sources added. 

Cooperation of joint investment in Bhutan and importing electricity from Nepal may also be discussed at the meeting.