Bangladesh has expressed its interest to construct storage type hydropower project in joint venture with Nepal and import power to mitigate her country’s power crisis.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed the interest during a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai at Shangri-La resort in Maldives today morning.
She said that at present, Bangladesh would like to import 1000 MW of electricity from Saptakosi High Dam, which is 110 km off Thakurganon district in Bangladesh.
Nepal's total hydropower potential is 83,000 MW of which 42,000 MW is economically exploitable, according to the hydro experts.
Hasina said Bangladesh is interested to get 10,000 MW of electricity in next five to seven years by investing in joint venture projects, or equity sharing or direct purchase from Nepal. She mentioned that during the Indian PM's visit to Bangladesh, it was agreed that countries might take up projects to harness hydropower and water resources on sub-regional or regional basis.
She said Bangladesh, India, Nepal may jointly construct storage reservoirs in Nepal for augmentation of dry season flow of the Ganges. “The three countries should implement Saptakosi High Dam with augmentation potential of 68,600 cusecs,” she said, adding that some of the 3,500 MW of hydropower produced there could be imported by Bangladesh.
Hasina said Bangladesh hopes that the 'Peace Process' and the drafting of the constitution in Nepal will be successful.Both Hasina and Dr Baburam Bhattarai underscored the need to increase trade between the two neighbouring countries. “We are improving infrastructure of land customs stations, landports for trade between Bangladesh and India as well as with Nepal and Bhutan," Hasina said, adding that they 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 through this route as a onetime case.She said the multi-gauge conversion of Birol-Radhikapur sector by 2012 will mean two rail linkages for trade between Bangladesh and Nepal as well as third country.
“A standard operation procedure signed between Bangladesh and India during her January 2010 visit to India will allow Nepali cargo vehicles to enter up to 200 metres from zero point at Bangladandha inside Bangladesh,” she said.
Hasina also said that Bangladesh and Nepal could collaborate in tourism, promote people-to-people contact, and increase the number of Nepalese students studying in private universities in Bangladesh.
She invited the Prime Minister Dr Bhattarai to visit Bangladesh at his convenience.