Skip to main content

Will India finally allow power corridor to Bangladesh to import electricity from Nepal?

By Samara Ashrat* 

Bangladesh needs transition from conventional energy sources to ensure its energy security and long-term sustainability in the near future. Given the supply chain disruption followed by the Ukraine crisis, energy security has become a major concern for developing and least-developed countries.
As the sources are becoming scarce and prices are becoming volatile, these countries are finding it difficult to navigate without cooperation. In this context, cross-border energy cooperation and revitalizing the idea of the power corridor can help Bangladesh to mitigate energy shortage.
During Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India on September 2022, Bangladesh requested that it be allowed to import power from Nepal and Bhutan via India. The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) sought approval from the Indian authorities to export 40-50 MW of electricity to Bangladesh through India’s existing transmission infrastructure.
In August 2022, Bangladesh and Nepal decided to request India to allow the export of 40-50MW of electricity from Nepal to Bangladesh in the initial phase by utilizing the high-voltage Baharampur-Bheramara cross-border power transmission link.
As per the understanding reached during the secretary-level Joint Steering Committee (JSC) formed for Nepal-Bangladesh energy cooperation, the NEA and the Bangladesh Power Development Board requested India for a trilateral energy sales and purchase agreement utilizing the power line. Being a land-locked country, Nepal's plan to export its electricity other than India requires India's close cooperation and partnership. According to the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission of India, the Indian authority is allowed to do cross-border trade where India is involved.
There is a specific provision of a tripartite agreement that allows the Indian authority to sign the framework of bilateral agreements between the government of India and the governments of the respective neighboring countries. In other words, Bangladesh and Nepal need to sign bilateral agreements for cross-border electricity trade with India.
Now, India is considering Nepalese and Bangladesh proposals to allow Kathmandu to sell electricity to Bangladesh via Indian territory and Indian infrastructure. Hence, the issue of a ‘power corridor’ has sparked new talk in Bangladesh-India bilateral relations.

Based on reciprocity

Both India and Bangladesh want to increase their share of renewable energy substantially in the upcoming years. The Indian government has set an ambitious plan to generate 500GW from non-fossil energy-based sources by 2030, meeting 50 percent of energy requirements from renewables.
Likewise, Bangladesh wants to increase the share of renewable energy in the country's power mix to around 40 percent by 2050 from less than three percent now. Water-rich Nepal could help both countries achieve their dreams.
Northeastern region is India’s main hub for increasing its renewable energy capacity. India needs to tap the unexplored natural resources of its Northeast. Bangladesh has the potential to offer multiple electricity corridors for transmission. Arunachal Pradesh alone has a 50,000 MW of hydroelectricity potential.
Bangladesh has requested that it be allowed to import power from Nepal and Bhutan via India
According to the Indian North Eastern Electric Power Cooperation, the Indian North Eastern Region has the potential of about 58,971 MW of power, almost 40 percent of India’s total hydropower potential. India is planning to explore all hydropower potentials in Arunachal Pradesh and other northeastern states.
At present, India has a total potential of 145,320 MW hydropower but only 45,399.22 MW of the quantum is being tapped. But India needs to spend a huge amount of money to transmit hydropower from India’s northeastern to northwestern region. But the geographical barrier has constrained India from untapping its potential. 18 projects above the capacity of 25 MW were now under construction across Northeast in 2019.
But India can easily use the power corridor of Bangladesh to reduce the cost. In 2021, Bangladesh showed interest in the power corridor and expected to get 20 to 25 percent of the hydropower to be transmitted through the high-voltage gridline passing through its territory. The transmission line with the capacity of 6,000MW in Bangladesh land maybe 100km in length if it is built in Boropukuria and 200km if is installed in Jamalpur while a substation would be built in each route.
Two possible routes of the transmission line are -- from Assam’s Bonga through Baropukuria (Dinajpur) or Jamalpu to Bihar’s Punia and from Asam’s Silchar via Meghna Ghat-Bheramara to West Bengal. There can be such high-capacity interconnectors in Tripura-Comilla, Bongaigaon (Assam)-Jamalpur/Dinajpur-Purnea (Bihar), Silchar (Assam), and Fenchuganj.
If India finally allows power corridor to Bangladesh to import electricity from Nepal, it will usher a new era of bilateral energy cooperation. Not only that, through Bangladesh, it can achieve its untapped opportunities of hydropower from the northeastern region. 
So, both Bangladesh and India should come forward to enhance their energy security based on reciprocity and enhance South Asian regional cooperation.
---
*PhD fellow, University of Bucharest

Comments

TRENDING

Women innovators on simple, revolutionary alternate solutions for water problems

By Proshakha Maitra, Mansee Bal Bhargava* The detrimental effects of uncontrolled population rise and accelerated change in the global climate have posed tremendous pressure on the water and sanitation. This calls all stakeholders, from both developed and developing nations, to improve their resilience and to instigate sustainability. It is more crucial than ever to optimise the use of the resources we have on hand since the world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Crusader for people’s causes, this Hollywood actor entered 'unexplored zones' in US

By Harsh Thakor*  Marlon Brando on April 3rd completes his birth centenary. He perished in 2004, on July 1, aged 80 years. Arguably in Hollywood Brando penetrated sensitivity and versatility at an unparalleled scale and discovered new horizons or explored path breaking zones in acting.

Nuclear power expansion: Is AEC's new, 'unrealistic' target fully backed by PMO?

By Shankar Sharma*  Another unrealistic and tall claim by Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) has been announced: India is eyeing 100 GW nuclear power by 2047, the AEC chairman  AK Mohanty   has said. A few years ago, the dream target for the Indian nuclear establishment was 275,000 MWe of nuclear power by 2050 (as per DAE document of 2008 "A Strategy for the Growth of Electricity in India”). Now this target of 100 GW nuclear power by 2047. And as at the end of February 2024, the actual nuclear power capacity was only 7,480 MWe, which formed only 1.7% of the total power capacity in the country. 

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Indians witnessing 'regression to Hindutva politics' under Modi ahead of elections

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The forthcoming general election in India, scheduled from April 19, 2024, to June 1, 2024, to elect the 543 members of the 18th Lok Sabha and the new Government of India, carries immense significance for the preservation of India's identity as a liberal, secular, and constitutional democracy.