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Sunday , October 28 , 2012
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Bangla seeks Brahmaputra power

- India, Bangladesh and Bhutan to meet soon on river water harnessing

Shillong, Oct. 27: Bangladesh is eyeing power generation from the Brahmaputra to bridge the deficit in power supply.

“Bangladesh will soon convene a meeting between Bhutan, India and Bangladesh on Brahmaputra basin management,” Bangladesh high commissioner Tariq Karim told reporters here today evening.

Karim was here with Gowher Rizvi, international affairs adviser to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The officials met Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma at his office here where a number of issues, including those on power projects, were discussed.

“We are all bound together by the Brahmaputra. We were separated (politically), and we are thinking at how we can co-operate in harnessing the power and force of the river as well as harness its munificence,” Karim said.

Stating that India, Bhutan and Bangladesh are the “children” of the Brahmaputra, Karim said, “A river cannot be harnessed in segments. It has to be done together. So, Bangladesh and Bhutan has to participate with Meghalaya, Assam, and ultimately India.”

He said once the three countries embark on the project, the whole region would be transformed.

Karim added that a discussion was held on the possibility of cooperation between Meghalaya and Bangladesh in the power sector.

“We have discussed linking the grids between Meghalaya and Bangladesh near Cherrapunjee in a stretch that is only 10km in length,” the high commissioner said.

The chief minister said, as Neepco is engaged in producing 85MW hydel power from the Umiew river, and other projects were coming up in Arunachal Pradesh, the grid (about 10km long only) could be used to supply power to Bangladesh.

Moreover, Karim said his country would like to develop a thermal power plant across the border using coal, which is available on the southern slopes of Meghalaya, bordering Bangladesh.

The thermal power project could use a conveyor belt to transfer coal to Bangladesh to cut down transportation costs, Karim said.

Talks were also held on increasing the number of border haats, food and spice processing, and getting entrepreneurs to meet either in Meghalaya or Bangladesh.

The officials also discussed the possibility of Shillong being a tourist and educational destination for the people of Bangladesh.

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