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First power feed to Bangladesh

New Delhi, Feb. 17: India will start exporting 250 megawatt (MW) power to Bangladesh from July, which is likely to strengthen the diplomatic ties between the two South Asian neighbours.

“The transmission line would be ready to export power from India to Bangladesh from July… most of the work is over and final testing is being done before commissioning it,” PowerGrid chairman R.K. Nayak told The Telegraph.

The transmission line — the first one to connect the two countries — is being set up by PowerGrid Corporation of India Ltd and the Bangladesh Power Development Board.

The proposed 125-km line will connect Berhampur in India to Bheramara in Bangladesh. Of the total length, around 40 km will fall within the Bangladesh territory. The project is estimated to cost Rs 8,220 crore, of which Rs 1,780 crore will be contributed by PowerGrid.

Officials said the transmission systems of India and Bangladesh, which are based on 400kV and 230kV alternate current, respectively, would be synchronised by installing a back-to-back high voltage direct current link. The line will have an initial transfer capacity of 500MW, which will be upgraded to 1,000MW.

The Bangladesh Power Development Board had signed an agreement with Vidyut Vyapar Nigam — a subsidiary of National Thermal Power Corporation — in February last year to import power.

India and Dhaka had agreed to co-operate in areas such as security, power, border markets and connectivity during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi in January 2010.

The wheeling of power from India will have a significant impact on bilateral relations as the Awami League government and the Congress-led UPA government enter the last year of their parliamentary term.

India plans to cement its ties with Bangladesh with President Pranab Mukherjee visiting the country on March 3-4 followed by the arrival of Sheikh Hasina in August, reports said. External affairs minister Salman Khurshid is on a two-day visit to the country ending today.

Media reports from Bangladesh said Hasina’s visit was likely to be marked by the signing of the much-awaited Teesta deal, which had to be stalled because of Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s last-moment resistance during Manmohan Singh’s visit to Bangladesh in September 2011.

Nayak said PowerGrid was scouting for opportunity in Bangladesh’s transmission business and has conducted a feasibility study to set up the Aminbazar-Maowa-Mongla and Anowara-Meghnaghat lines and associated substations.