Rampal power plant likely to open during Hasina’s visit to Delhi

The coal-fired 1320MW plant is a 50:50 joint venture between Bangladesh and India

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 31 July 2022, 03:28 PM
Updated : 31 July 2022, 03:28 PM

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen has said Dhaka and Delhi are hashing out the details of the possibility of inaugurating the Rampal coal-fired power plant in Bagerhat during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s high-profile official visit to India in September.

“It’s been put on our wish-list. We will hold an inter-ministerial meeting soon to discuss details,” he said during a press briefing on Sunday.

A top Indian daily on Saturday reported that Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are expected to jointly inaugurate the power station during her visit in the first week of September.

The Maitree Super Thermal Power Station project in Rampal is being constructed by the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company, or BIFPCL, a 50:50 joint venture between the Bangladesh Power Development Board and India’s National Thermal Power Corporation.

In Jul 2016, the BIFPCL appointed India’s state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited to construct the project. The project is estimated to involve a capital investment of approximately $2 billion and the fund for the project was secured in April 2017 through a financing agreement with Indian EXIM Bank.

The construction of the project began in Apr 2017. The power plant will include two steam-based 660MW power generation units.

The project has been mired in controversy from the beginning, as green activists, UNESCO and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had expressed serious concerns about the effect of coals from the project site, which is four kilometres from the ecologically critical area of the Sundarbans.

But, the Bangladesh government has always maintained that state-of-the-art technology will be used to minimise the pollution from coal.

ON TRANSSHIPMENT FROM MONGLA TO ‘SEVEN SISTERS’

Momen also said a pilot project of transhipment of goods is being tried out from Khulna’s Mongla to India’s northeastern states, commonly known as ‘Seven Sisters’.

“Some trial runs are going on, tenure of some regular transshipments are about to end too. We’ve extended support for them as those states were heavily affected during the recent floods,” he said.

Confirming India’s request for a special transhipment route through Sylhet, the foreign secretary said the request was made to transport some special goods to flood-affected regions in Assam and Meghalaya.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher