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Tripura to trade power to Bangladesh to develop ties among two neighbours
Tripura to trade power to Bangladesh to develop ties among two neighbours

Agartala, Sep 21 (TIWN) West Bengal government firmly reluctant to share Teesta river water with Bangladesh, but Tripura keen to supply electricity to power-starved Bangladesh to further improve the India-Bangladesh ties. Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar Friday announced that the northeastern state willing to provide at least 100 MW of electricity to Bangladesh as the India’s lone Left Front ruled state would be power surplus state by February.

“If the central government allows the state government, Tripura is ready to supply at least 100 MW of power to Bangladesh,” Sarkar said at a public gathering after inaugurating a 21 MW gas based power project at western Tripura’s Rokhia, three km away from Bangladesh border and 50 km south of state capital Agartala. 

Popular in Bangladesh, the 64 years old Left leader said : “Bangladesh seriously needs electricity for both household, industrial, irrigation and other purposes. We must help Bangladesh, because the country is our best friendly neighbour.”

The present West Bengal government led by Trinamool Congress chief Ms Mamata Banerjee decisively reluctant to share Teesta river water to Bangladesh, which has been seriously urging India for the river water past many years.

Mr Sarkar received ‘Muktijuddha’award in 2012 bestowed upon him by the Bangladesh government for his role in the 1971 liberation war, that creates sovereign Bangladesh from then East Pakistan.

He said that Bangladesh helped India a lot to transport heavy machineries and turbines through its territories for the giant Palatana power project (726 MW) in southern Tripura. 

Tripura chief minister quoting media reports said that the present Awami League supremo Sheikh Hasina led Bangladesh government has produced extra 3,000 MW power in last three years, but this is most insufficient for the country with a population of 19 to 20 crore.

As said by Mr Sarkar, after commissioning of 726 MW Palatana and 104 MW Monarchak power projects by February next year, Tripura’s accessibility of electricity would be 410 MW against its current pick hour demand of 240 MW and 250 MW in the next few years.

“If we help our best neighbour in all respect, then the relation between India and Bangladesh would be more nearer and helpful for both countries to grow further,” said Sarkar, a member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist’s highest policy making body politburo.

India’s state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has been commissioning its biggest ever commercial power project (726 MW) at Palatana in southern Tripura (60 km south of Agartala) while 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 Tripura capital Agartala) and and eight km from the India-Bangladesh border.

Both the gas based combined cycled power project (for which water would be used to generate electricity) expected to start full capacity generation by February or latest by March next year.

Tripura would get the entire power from the NEEPCO’s Rs 950 crore Monarchak power project while electricity to be generated from the Palatana power project would be shared by Assam (240 MW), Tripura (196 MW), Meghalaya (79 MW), Manipur (42 MW), Nagaland (27 MW), and Mizoram (22 MW).

The ONGC, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) and Tripura government jointly floated ONGC Tripura Power Company limited (OTPC) to set up the Rs.10,000-crore Palatana power plant, for which foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in October 2005.

The IL&FS and OTPC will keep 98 MW power on their own to sell it to suitable consumer.

After the dedication of the Palatana power project to the nation by President Pranab Mukherjee June 21, technical snags were found in the 53-km gas pipelines, laid by the ONGC to supply gas to the power plant.

The ONGC engineers and experts are working round-the-clock to start full generation of electricity from the power project at the earliest.

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



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