Hasina Meets Nepalese PM
Bangladesh keen to import hydropower
Unb, Addu, Maldives
Bangladesh is eager to import hydro-electricity from Nepal to mitigate power crisis in the country.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday expressed the interest during a meeting with her Nepalese counterpart Baburam Bhattarai at a resort in Addu, the Maldives.
Bangladesh will now like to import 1,000 megawatt of electricity from Sapt-kosi high dam, which is 110 kilometres off Thakurgaon district of Bangladesh, she told the Nepalese premier.
Hasina said Bangladesh is interested to get 10,000 MW of electricity in next 5 to 7 years by investing in joint venture projects, or equity sharing or direct purchase from Nepal.
She mentioned that during the Indian premier’s visit to Bangladesh, it was agreed that countries may take up projects to harness hydropower and water resources on sub-regional or regional basis.
The premier said Bangladesh, India, Nepal may jointly construct storage reservoirs in Nepal for augmentation of dry season flow of the Ganges.
She said the three countries should implement Sapt-kosi High Dam with augmentation potential of 68,600 cusecs. Some of the 3,500 MW of hydropower produced there could be imported by Bangladesh.
Nepal’s total hydropower potential is 83,000 MW of which 42,000 MW is economically exploitable.
Hasina said Bangladesh hopes that the ‘Peace Process’ and the drafting of the constitution in Nepal will be successful.
Both Hasina and her Nepalese counterpart underscored the need to increase trade between the two neighbouring countries.
“We are improving infrastructure of land customs stations/land ports for trade between Bangladesh and India as well as with Nepal and Bhutan,” Hasina said.
“We have signed with India an addendum to a MOU of Bangladesh and Indian Railways granting Rohanpur-Singabad as an additional route for rail transit to Nepal. Already 50,000 tonnes of fertiliser have been transported by this route as a onetime case,” she added.
The premier said the multi-gauge conversion of Birol-Radhikapur sector by 2012 will mean two rail linkages for trade between Bangladesh and Nepal.
Hasina said a standard operation procedure signed between Bangladesh and India during her January 2010 visit to India will allow Nepalese cargo vehicles to enter up to 200 metres from zero point at Banglabandha inside Bangladesh.
“It means more trade,” she added.
Hasina also said that Bangladesh and Nepal could collaborate in tourism, people to people contact in this region.
She invited the Nepalese prime minister to visit Bangladesh at his convenience.
PM’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad briefed the reporters after the meeting.
Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, Ambassador at Large M Ziauddin, among others, were present.