South Asian power grid a priority: Farooq

South Asian power grid a priority: Farooq

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A South Asian power grid that allows free flow of electricity between producers and importing nations in the region is a top priority and will hugely benefit Bangladesh, says Farooq Abdullah, India’s new and renewable energy minister.
A former five times Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Abdullah said in an exclusive interview with journalists Editor-in-Chief Toufique Imrose Khalidi during his recent visit to Dhaka that this regional grid will help Bangladesh import more power, because then it can turn to Bhutan and Nepal apart from India.
“I don’t know how soon that will emerge, but we hope that it will emerge as rapidly as possible. We think it is very important. Energy is essential for your country, as it is essential for us,” Abdullah said.
The Indian minister said Bangladesh can expect 500MW of power now from India — 250MW each from government and private sources — but by 2014, this can easily go up to 1,000MW.
“Your lines can carry a thousand megawatts very easily. And I think that is a very good thing. And if further talks between India, Bhutan and Nepal mature, then you’ll get much more for the future. Because a lot of projects are coming up in these states,” Abdullah added.
The minister said he will look into the proposed transfer of 100MW of power from Tripura’s Palatana plant that was made possible by transportation of heavy equipment through Bangladesh.
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has said his government is more than willing to offer from its share of the project 100MW of power for Bangladesh.
“This should not be difficult. If we give you so much power from here (Behrampur-Bheramara), we can give 100MW from Tripura,” Abdullah said.
The Indian minister said his country was looking to revive the gas pipeline project that would connect Myanmar to eastern India through Bangladesh.
“Myanmar has the gas and we have the demand. But this is something that will also benefit Bangladesh, because you may need Myanmar gas as much as we do in future,” Abdullah told journalists.
According to him, negotiations had been reopened with Myanmar but he did not have details because this was handled by the petroleum ministry.
“I wish Myanmar can be brought into SAARC as Afghanistan has been. That will be a great decision. And we propose to have Bangladesh on board on this.”
The minister said he did realise India had a great responsibility to take care of the interests of the other countries in the region.
“India is determined to see that the SAARC countries come closer, and that the co-operation is far greater in these countries, so that we emerge from darkness to the light,” Abdullah said.
(The interview will be telecast on Ekattor TV at 9:30pm on Monday and Bengali-language daily ‘Samakal’ will run a report on it in its Tuesday edition) –bdnews24.com

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