India offers to buy 1,000MW electricity from Bangladesh

November 2nd, 2008 - 1:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Nov 2 (IANS) India has offered to buy 1,000MW of power from Bangladesh as part of its mega-plan to produce and procure 30,000MW in next 10 years from its South Asian neighbours including Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.”We can have an agreement to export 1,000MW power,” Jairam Ramesh, Indian minister of state for commerce and power told the media during his visit here Saturday.

He said the power sector cooperation could take place through a South Asian power grid, but the real issue would be how that grid could be reached. A bilateral approach could take place faster.

“It’ll be a competitive price. no profiteering,” he said.

He made the offer for the power sector cooperation during separate meetings with Hossain Zillur Rahman, the commerce adviser, and M. Tamim, the special assistant to the chief adviser for energy and power, earlier in the day.

He also visited a power plant in Siddhirganj of Narayanganj, United News of Bangladesh (UNB) news agency reported.

Ramesh said that besides an under-construction project in the north-eastern Indian state of Tripura to generate 750MW electricity, Indian companies had got permission to install power plants in Nepal to generate 1,400MW power to import back to India.

Ramesh listed the accomplishments in Bangladesh-India relations, particularly in economic cooperation, during the last one year including the notification of duty-free export of eight million pieces of apparel items from Bangladesh to India.

Bangladesh has so far exported three million pieces and the rest would be exported by next year to add $60-70 million to Bangladesh’s export earnings from India.

India offered to import apparels in large quantities in April last year as a gesture on becoming the new chair of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc).

Ramesh said India reduced its negative list of products for Bangladesh and other LDCs under SAFTA from 744 items to 480 items effective from January this year.

India allowed 50 out of the 101 items Bangladesh requested for special consideration from India to offer duty-free market access, he added.

Ramesh said Indian exports to Bangladesh increased three times during the last seven years to $3.3 billion while Bangladesh’s exports to India increased seven times to $350 million, though the figures reflect huge surplus in favour of India.

The Indian minister also pushed for a corridor through Bangladesh, an issue that Dhaka is sensitive about.

Referring to an Indian study, he said Bangladesh could earn as high as $1.2 billion annually by allowing transhipment only through two routes - Kolkata-Dhaka-Guwahati and Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala.

“People who are worried about trade deficit could consider the corridors,” the minister was quoted as saying by New Age newspaper.

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