India may have finally promised Bangladesh 100 MW of electricity from the ONGC Tripura Power Company-promoted 736.6 MW gas-based facility at Palatana in Tripura.
India sells 500 MW of electricity a day to Dhaka through West Bengal border. Of the total, 250 MW is sourced from NTPC at Central Electricity Regulatory Commission determined tariff. The rest is traded through open market deals.
According to media reports in Kolkata and Dhaka, at a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Bangladeshi counterpart Seikh Hasina, at Nay Pyi Taw on Tuesday, India made fresh offers for sale of electricity to the neighbouring economy.
The two Prime Ministers were attending BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) summit at Myanmar.
The offer came in the backdrop of long standing demand of Bangladesh for share of power from OTPC project in reciprocation to Dhaka’s support in making the project happen.
Long standing demand
Dhaka’s role received appreciation even from Indian President Pranab Mukherjee. The State government of Tripura had also been pleading Dhaka’s case with Delhi.
In an interview to Business Line in February, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said Delhi’s reluctance in granting Dhaka a share of electricity from OTPC may harm bilateral friendship.
Bangladesh holds the key to future growth of the resource rich North Eastern region, both in terms of logistics as well as market access.
Implementation will be delayed
Tripura’s Commerce and Industry Minister Jitendra Chaudhury, welcomed the development. “We are yet to receive any official communication from the Indian government. However, we welcome the decision as a positive step in strengthening economic ties,” he said.
Chaudhury, however, said following announcement of General Elections on Wednesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cannot take an executive decision for project implementation.
“We will have to wait till formation of the new government in Delhi to make this promise into a reality,” he said.