India-Bangladesh power link to be ready by August
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After the progress in its power cooperation initiative with Pakistan, the government's electricity diplomacy effort on the eastern border with Bangladesh is slated to break new ground, with a mid-August deadline being set for the completion of the ambitious high-capacity transmission link between the electricity grids of the two countries.
Bangladesh has also reiterated its readiness to pick up equity in joint venture hydroelectric projects in India's North Eastern states, especially Arunachal Pradesh, and has furnished a list of jointly implementable hydro power projects in the region.
At the sixth joint steering committee meeting for cooperating in the power sector that was held here on June 27, chaired by Union power secretary P Uma Shankar and Monowar Islam, secretary of the Power Division, ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Bangladesh, it was decided that transmission utility Power Grid Corporation of India, which is executing the crucial 71-km Baharampur-Bheramara transmission link, will complete the line by mid-August, sources said.
The inauguration of the transmission link is being tentatively set for the first week of September, ahead of the possible announcement of General Election dates and the Model Code of Conduct kicking in.
The only hitch in the progress of the transmission line, which will have a capacity to wheel 500 MW of electricity, is a right-of-way problem encountered at a single location in West Bengal, where a foundation and tower are to be set up.
The matter has been taken up with the West Bengal government by the Centre and indications are that the state is likely to resolve the issue after the local body elections get over by end-July.
Full load testing, including 10 per cent overload testing of the HVDC (high voltage direct current) back-to-back terminal is slated for mid-September 2013.
A crucial part of the cooperation is a joint venture power project — aptly named the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Co Ltd — being set up NTPC Ltd and the Bangladesh Power Development Board.