BD, India, Bhutan deal likely soon for hydropower in Bhutan | Greenwatch Dhaka | The leading online daily of Bangladesh

BD, India, Bhutan deal likely soon for hydropower in Bhutan


Dhaka, Feb 3 – Bangladesh, India and Bhutan are likely to constitute a tri-nation joint venture for developing an 1100 MW hydropower plant in Bhutan.
According to official sources, the three nations have already completed initial discussions to sign a memorandum of agreement (MoU) to go ahead with the proposed power project, ‘Kuri-1’, which will be set up with investments of all the three South Asian nations.Sources at the Power Division said Bangladesh initially conceived an idea to develop a hydropower project in Bhutan to import electricity from the Himalayan nation as part of its strategy to outsource energy sources for meeting its demand.
Bangladesh first placed its proposal to Bhutan when its Economic Minister visited Dhaka last year.
During a meeting with the Bhutanese Minister, State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid formally discussed the issue and expressed Dhaka’s interest to invest in Bhutan to set up the power plant and bring the electricity to Bangladesh through Indian territory.
The Bhutanese minister instantly accepted the offer. But he suggested that Dhaka discuss the matter with India to get its support which is required for power transmission from Bhutan to Bangladesh through Indian territory.
Official sources said as per Bhutanese suggestion, Dhaka discussed the issue with New Delhi. Specially, State Minister Nasrul Hamid discussed the issue with Indian top level policymaking authorities when he visited India last year.
Primarily, Indian policymakers agreed with Dhaka’s proposal and expressed their interest to get involved in any such move to set up joint venture power plant.
After getting New Delhi’s positive note, Dhaka prepared a memorandum of understanding in this regard and sent it to Thimphu and New Delhi for their endorsement.
Sources said Thimphu has already endorsed the proposed MoU and Dhaka is now waiting for New Delhi’s consent.
Power Division officials said officials at Indian Power Ministry have verbally informed Dhaka that their government has endorsed the agreement. “We’ve been communicated by officials at New Delhi that the Indian authorities have given consent to the MoU,” said Mohammad Hossain, director general of Power Cell which is involved in the process.
Recently, Nasrul Hamid also said Bangladesh has received Indian consent to Dhaka’s move to import electricity from the Himalayan nation using its territory.
Officials said Bangladesh is eagerly waiting to sign the MoU to move forward its idea to set up power plants in Bhutan and import it to the country.
They hoped that the proposed deal might be signed within a month or two as initial bottlenecks have been removed by getting Indian positive note to the deal.
Once the deal is signed, Bangladesh will start physical works for the project. For this, Power Division has already moved for setting up a separate company to deal with the hydropower plants, said an official.
He said Dhaka has also initiated a move to set up power plant in Nepal and import it in Bangladesh. UNB


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