Dhaka, Bangladesh
Power buy from Bhutan and Nepal hits roadblocks

Power buy from Bhutan and Nepal hits roadblocks

News Report: Bangladesh bid to have cheap hydroelectricity from Bhutan and Nepal seems hanging in the balance, according to official sources. The sources in power division of the ministry of power, energy and mineral resources said under the umbrella of sub-regional cooperation, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India agreed to use Himalayan water resources for economic development. Accordingly, Bangladesh proposed to develop a hydropower plant in Bhutan with 1100mw generation capacity. Bangladesh would buy the electricity and transmit into Bangladesh crossing over Indian territory. After several rounds of meeting, Bangladesh and Bhutan developed a draft MoU (memorandum of understanding) regarding the development of hydropower plant. But that could not be inked because Bhutan has not received the green signal from India. It was learnt that question has been raised whether power trade would be conducted on multilateral or bilateral basis. Bangladesh insists that power trade should be made on the multilateral basis. India wants it should be bilateral, which means that India will buy power from Bhutan and then sell the same to Bangladesh. "The power would not be cheaper if India's position is accepted," said one source. It has been estimated that cost of Bhutanese power would be Tk 2.0 per unit and Bangladesh could have the same at Tk 3 or Tk 4 per unit including wheeling charge. If Bangladesh buys Bhutanese power from the third source, per-unit cost would be Tk 6.0 or more, which cannot be termed cheap power. An Indian power-developer company is now generating hydropower in Nepal. Approach was also made to have cheap electricity from Nepal. "The Indian company has no objection to having direct power deal with Bangladesh, but India's bilateral position stands as a roadblock," the source said.

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