India seeks power corridor through Bangladesh

Undoing the geographical constraint of its north-eastern states that followed partition, India is seeking a corridor through Bangladesh for transmission of power from its eastern states to its western states.

The proposal is one of the measures to be taken to restore the multi-fold connectivity between the two countries to pre-1965 level. The corridor facility for power transmission from the state of Bihar to Arunachal Pradesh will be using a 765 kV transmission line. Infrastructures will be built for transmission of approximately 4,000 MW of hydropower. Bangladesh can buy up to 1,000 MW of power out of this.

The project is still at the proposal stage and a feasibility study needs to be conducted. But, India at first is seeking a go ahead from the incumbent Bangladesh government to connect Arunachal-Bihar grids through Bangladesh’s Jamalpur-Dinajpur (proposed) line. Following the partition in the Indian sub-continent, the north-eastern states of India have been geographically isolated and are connected to the rest of the India through a narrow strip called the “chicken neck” area.

The proposal for a power corridor has not been a new one. India has brought the proposal back on table linking it to its third Line of Credit worth USD 400 million to Bangladesh. Under this proposal a 200-kilometre long power transmission line is envisaged to be constructed along with other infrastructures. This was proposed during the 12th joint steering committee meeting led by the two power division secretaries, Ahmad Kaikaus from Bangladesh and Ajay Kumar Bhalla from India, held in New Delhi on January 31 in 2018.

“To implement all projects under the umbrella of joint cooperation, we will sit to discuss as per the schedule to strengthen our bilateral ties during the two-day talks between the two countries,” said Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Secretary of the Power Division on Saturday. The government of Arunachal Pradesh is vigorously pursuing the project to transmit its hydro-power to other Indian states through the transmission line passing through Bangladesh.

“This time we want to focus on sharing our experience in implementing solar roof top projects. We will also focus on long term power exchange projects,” the official added, preferring anonymity.