Bangladesh, India review progress of Katihar-Parbatipur-Baranagar 765KV transmission line

    Originally posted in Prothom Alo on 5 May 2023

    Dhaka and New Delhi reviewed the implementation of Katihar-Parbatipur-Baranagar 765 KV high voltage interconnection transmission line between India and Bangladesh.

    The issue was reviewed in the meeting of Bangladesh-India Joint Steering Committee on Power Sector Cooperation in Khulna on Thursday.

    Joint development of cross-border trade and relevant projects and projects on energy efficiency in Bangladesh were also discussed, said a press release of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources.

    India is seeking a corridor to supply electricity from Katihar, Bihar to Bornagar of Assam through Parbatipur in Dinajpur of Bangladesh under the Katihar-Parbatipur-Baranagar 765 KV high power interconnection transmission line project, said official sources.

    They also said India has a plan to generate electricity through different hydropower projects by building dams on different rivers and take the electricity to the India’s north-western part from the north-eastern using Bangladesh as a corridor.

    Bangladesh already said it is committed to supporting the implementation of the Katihar-Parbatipur-Boronagar transmission line.

    Officials said there are huge legal, implemental, operational and security issues that need to be addressed by Bangladesh as a lower riparian country.

    But 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.

    Earlier, Bangladesh had expressed concern that the transmission system may be used to evacuate future hydropower from NER, India and Bangladesh being a lower riparian country.

    The issue  also needs to be discussed in the Joint River Commission (JRC) of India and Bangladesh.

    The Power and Energy Ministry’s press release said the 21st meeting of the Bangladesh-India Joint Steering Committee on Cooperation in the Power Sector was held Thursday.

    In the meeting organised at Khulna Bidyut Bhaban, power secretary Md. Habibur Rahman led the Bangladesh side while India’s power secretary Alok Kumar led the Indian side.

    The meeting reviewed the progress of ongoing activities related to mutual cooperation in the power sector between Bangladesh and India.

    The meeting reviewed the possibility of power generation projects in India through Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company (Pvt.) Limited (BIFPCL) including power export from Bangladesh to India and setting up of solar power projects by BIFPCL.

    The meeting also discussed India-Bangladesh interconnection link for electricity import, the signing of a proposed agreement to import 500 megawatts of hydroelectricity from Nepal by Indian company GMR to Bangladesh through India, tripartite investment of Bangladesh, India and Bhutan in hydroelectricity project in Bhutan and also the importing of electricity from the project to Bangladesh.

    The meeting also reviewed the progress of the implementation of the 1st and 2nd units of the 1320 (2X660) MW Rampal Maitree Super Thermal Power Plant. The meeting expressed optimism that the 2nd unit would be synchronised by June, 2023 as per the target.

    Earlier, the 21st meeting of the Bangladesh-India Joint Working Group was held on 3 May at the same venue.

    It is to be noted that the 20th meeting of the Bangladesh-India Joint Steering Committee and Joint Working Group regarding cooperation in the power sector was held in Dharamshala, India in May last year.

    The next meeting of the committee is scheduled to be held in India in November 2023.