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Positive response from India to import of electricity from Bhutan and Nepal: Power Advisor

Mar 11, 2007 Asia Pulse Data Source

Bangladesh has received a positive response from India regarding the plan for importing electricity from Bhutan and Nepal, as a measure for tackling the prevailing crisis, Power and Energy Advisor Tapan Chowdhury said Sunday.

He made this statement during a press briefing at his Secretariat office after his return from New Delhi where he attended the SAARC energy ministers' conference last week.

The advisor said that, now, the Bangladesh government is contemplating placing a formal offer to the Bhutanese government to import electricity from the Himalayan nation.

He, however, said electricity import is a matter of long process that will take at least three years time to make it happen, even if the countries started the process today. "So, any decision should be made immediately if we really want to import electricity from a neighbouring country."

Terming the SAARC ministers' conference a very fruitful one, Tapan Chowdhury said the import of electricity is very much a regional issue, not bilateral.

He noted that the issue was discussed widely with all the concerned countries and all of them showed a positive attitude. "India has a large investment in Bhutan's hydropower sector, and if the two countries agree to accept Bangladesh's offer, then the issue of electricity tariffs could come into discussion," he told journalists.

"But, in all the cases, Bangladesh will take decision after protecting its own interests," he added.

The energy advisor said Bhutan has already shown its interest in getting investment in its hydroelectric sector from Bangladesh.

About the countrywide nagging power crisis, Tapan Chowdhury said some power plants, including 80MW Tongi peaking plant, which remained off due to gas shortages, would resume operation from middle of June when the newly commissioned Bibiana gas field would start its commercial operation.

He said the present decision to shut down shopping centres at 7:00pm is a temporary austerity measure and the government is very cautious so that no businessman is harassed.

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