Bangladesh offers to create SEZ for Indian investors

07 Oct 2014


Bangladesh government has offered to create 'Special Economic Zone' (SEZ) for Indian investors even as India has initiated the process of supplying 100 MW of power from Tripura to Bangladesh, signs of a remarkable improvement in bilateral relations between the two countries.

"Bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh have improved a lot. The neighbouring country has announced to create Special Economic Zone for the Indian investors," Indian deputy high commissioner in Dhaka Sandip Chakraborty told reporters last week.

Chakraborty who was entered India through Akhaura border is on a four-day visit to review the progress of different projects of connectivity between the two countries, including the transmission of 100 MW power from the 726 MW Palatana power project in South Tripura district.

Tripura has 856 km-long border with Bangladesh which accounts for 85 per cent of its total border.

Chakraborty said plans are afoot to upgrade the Ashuganj port on the river Meghna, which is just 37 km from Agartala and was used to transport huge machinery for the Palatana power project.

He said, a government of India organisation was preparing a detailed project report (DPR) to assess the cost of developing the port.

He said the progress of laying 15 km railway track from Agartala to Akhaura in Bangladesh was satisfactory which would connect Bangladesh and Indian railways through North-East soon.

Chakraborty would also visit Sabroom in South Tripura district to review the progress of constructing a bridge on the river Feni to connect Indian territory with the Chittagong area from where the Chittagong port is just 75 km.

Chakraborty said, India would draw a high tension power corridor of about 45 km from Suryamaninagar here to Rabindranagar, a bordering village to cater 100 MW power to Comilla in Bangladesh.

Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) would erect a transmission line from western Tripura's Surjyamaninagar power grid to Comilla (in eastern Bangladesh) power grid to supply the power.

He said that supplying power from Tripura to Bangladesh will be similar to the system between West Bengal's Baharampur and Bheramara in Bangladesh.

India had commenced supply of 250 MW of power to Bangladesh last year after the government-run Bangladesh Power Development Board and India's NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVN), a subsidiary of India's National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), signed a deal on 28 February 2012 to supply 250 MW of electricity, following an agreement signed during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to New Delhi in January 2010.

To provide power to Bangladesh, a 400 kV switching station has been set up at Baharampur in West Bengal. The cross-border inter-connection has been established between Baharampur (India) and Bheramara (Bangladesh).

A series of meetings were held since last year in New Delhi, Dhaka and Agartala to finalise the strategy to supply power to Bangladesh from Tripura's Palatana power project.

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has commissioned its biggest ever 726 MW capacity commercial power project at Palatana in southern Tripura, 60 km south of Agartala.

The power generation from the first unit (363 MW) of the Rs9,000-crore Palatana power plant began December 2013 and the second unit (363 MW) is expected to start generation by next month.

The Palatana project is a hallmark of cooperation between India and Bangladesh, which ensured the smooth passage of heavy project machineries and turbines to Palatana through its territory by road and waterways from Haldia port in West Bengal.

The state-owned North East Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) is setting up a 104 MW power project at Monarchak in western Tripura, 70 km south of Agartala, and just eight km from the India-Bangladesh border. The project is likely to start generation of electricity within the next three-four months.

Tripura would be the second power surplus state in India within the next three-four months after Sikkim, once full generation started from the Palatana and Monarchak power plants, both gas based project.

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