Indo-Bangla mutual help must go on: Tripura CM

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Agartala, March 23: Mutual help of India and Bangladesh will boost the bilateral cooperation between the two countries and facilitate their people, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said here on Wednesday.

"Mutual help and the give and take policies would further boost the India-Bangladesh relations. The give and take policies must continue," Sarkar told reporters here after joining the video-conferencing between the prime ministers of India and Bangladesh from their respective capitals.

Manik Sarkar

"Supply of 100 MW electricity from India's Tripura to Bangladesh and inauguration of third international internet gateway (IIG) in Agartala takes the bilateral cooperation of the two countries to a new height," said Sarkar.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina, along with Sarkar on Wednesday launched the supply of power and the IIG through videoconferencing from their respective offices in New Delhi, Dhaka and Agartala.

Sarkar said that it would not have been possible to commission the 726 MW Palatana power project in southern Tripura if Bangladesh had not allowed India to carry weighty turbines and heavy and oversized machineries through its territory.

"When the Bangladeshi prime minister had visited Tripura in January 2012, she sought power from the Tripura power project and we readily accepted the demand. Later, then prime minister Manmohan Singh and incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi expedited the process," he added.

Sarkar said that Hasina also readily agreed to allow India to construct a bridge over river Feni to get access to the Chittagong international sea port and agreed to share Bangladesh's submarine cable link to improve internet facilities in India's northeastern region.

The detailed project report is ready for the Feni bridge in bordering Sabroom in southern Tripura. "Works would be started after getting Rs.91.44 crore from the union commerce ministry."

A 47-km transmission line was erected linking the power grid at Surjyamaninagar in western Tripura to the Comilla power grid in Bangladesh to supply 100 MW of electricity to the country.

This will be in addition to the 500 MW Bangladesh is already receiving from West Bengal.

Tripura Power Minister Manik Dey told reporters that that India's NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd. (NVVN) and the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), both state-run companies, signed an agreement to supply 100 MW of electricity to Bangladesh.

The minister, who was recently in Dhaka and attended a series of meetings to finalise the power tariff, said: "In Dhaka, several meetings were held to finalise the power tariff. It was decided that the electricity would be supplied to Bangladesh at Rs.5.5 per unit."

"During the meeting, the Bangladesh prime minister was very keen to get more power from India as the country needs 8,000 MW of electricity to meet its needs.

The Tripura government is also ready to provide more power to Bangladesh if the central government has no objection," Dey added.

During his visit to Dhaka on June 6-7 last year, Modi discussed power supply from Tripura with Hasina.

Modi had declared that India would eventually enhance the power supply to Bangladesh to 1,100 MW.

IANS

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