Sylhet-Meghalaya power connection in the offing
Bangladesh and India are working on a proposal to set up a power grid interconnection linking Sylhet and northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya.
If the proposed power grid interconnection becomes a reality, it would be the second cross-border electricity transmission link between Bangladesh and India. Dhaka and New Delhi are already developing a grid interconnection between Berhampur in India’s eastern state of West Bengal and Bheramara in Khulna division of Bangladesh with the capacity for transmission of up to 500MW power.
Bangladesh’s High Commissioner to India Tariq A Karim said the proposed second grid interconnection between Chattak of Sunamganj district in Sylhet division and Sohra in Meghalaya would have a capacity to transmit of about 130MW power.
Karim and Gowher Rizvi, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s International Affairs Adviser, last week travelled to Meghalaya to meet state’s Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and top officials of the state government.
Sylhet and Meghalaya share a 443-km stretch of the Bangladesh-India border.
Bangladesh’s envoy said that a detailed study on the feasibility of the proposed power grid interconnection would be carried out.
The Chattak-Sohra transmission link was one of the several power grid interconnections proposed in a Jan 2005 study prepared for the United States Agency for International Development. The study for the USAID’s South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy had pegged the estimated cost of setting up the 50-km-long transmission line at Indian Rupees 60 million.
Sohra is just 10 km away from the Bangladesh-India border and is also known as Cherrapunji – once famous as the wettest place on earth.
Sangma, the Meghalaya Chief Minister, told Karim and Rizvi that several power projects would come up in the state in the coming years and the grid interconnection would facilitate supply of surplus power across the border.
Dhaka has also proposed to build a cross-border conveyer belt to supply coal from Meghalaya for a power project on the Bangladesh side of the border.
The Lafarge Umiam Mining Private Limited now operates such a cross-border conveyer belt that supplies limestone from Meghalaya to Lafarge Surma Cement Limited’s cement plant in Chattak. The Lafarge Umiam Mining Private Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Lafarge Surma Cement Limited or LSCL.