By Sujit Chakraborty
Tripura, which has been supplying 160 MW electricity to Bangladesh for the past five years, is keen to continue providing power to the neighbouring country and has approached the Indian government to settle the formalities for the same, Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma said on Friday.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb met Union Minister of State for Power (independent charge) R.K. Singh in New Delhi on Thursday and urged him to take necessary steps so that the state can continue to supply power to Bangladesh.
Deb subsequently tweeted: “Had a fruitful meeting with Hon’ble Minister of State (IC) for power Shri @RajKSinghIndia & requested him to extend the Power Supply Agreement for sale of 160 MW power to Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) on existing terms & conditions. He proactively assured his full support.”
Dev Varma, who holds the power, finance and rural development portfolios, said that as Tripura has surplus electricity, the state is keen to continue to supplying power to Bangladesh.
“The five-year term of the power supply agreement with Bangladesh will expire in March. The agreement must be renewed to continue supplying power to Bangladsh from Tripura,” Dev Varma told IANS.
He said that the state government in the past few months has been in touch with the Centre to finalise the necessary official formalities between the two countries in this regard.
A senior official of the Tripura State Electricity Corporation said that the state has been earning profit of around Rs 45 crore annually by supplying electricity to Bangladesh.
“Last year, we had supplied 40 MW of electricity to Nepal, but the supply has been discontinued now as Nepal did not approach the Indian authorities afresh,” the official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
Tripura had started supplying 100 MW power to Bangladesh from the state-owned ONGC Tripura Power Company (OTPC) power plant in March 2016. The power supply has subsequently increased to 160 MW.
“The NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) is the nodal agency to supply power to Bangladesh from the Tripura power project,” the official said.
He said that electricity is being supplied to Bangladesh and most of the northeastern states from the 726 MW generation capacity OTPC gas-based power plant at Palatana, 65 km south of Agartala.
The OTPC, a joint venture company of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd, IDFC Bank and the Tripura government, set up the 726-MW project at Palatana in June 2013.
According to officials, the OTPC’s combined cycle power plant, which is the largest gas-based power plant in the northeast, is meeting around 35 per cent of the power requirement of seven northeastern states, excluding Sikkim.
The Rs 10,000 crore Palatana power plant is an unique example of the cooperation between New Delhi and Dhaka, which ensured the passage of heavy project equipment and turbines to Palatana in southern Tripura through Bangladesh territory.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at [email protected])