India to supply more power to Bangladesh, lease internet bandwidth


In a further boost to bilateral ties, India will soon start supply of 100 MW power to Bangladesh and it will lease internet bandwidth from the neighbouring country, amid intense Sino-Indian contest for influence in the region. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina will jointly launch them on March 23 through a video conference. The grand launch will also be attended by Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.

Leading telecom operator BSNL and OTPC (ONGC Tripura Power Corporation) are working to ensure smooth operation of power supply from 726MW gas based power plant at Palatana to Commilla grid in Bangladesh and import of 10 GB internet bandwidth from Cox Bazar in Bangladesh to Agartala. Both the PSUs are currently working in Tripura to ensure snag free arrangements.

During Ms Hasina’s visit to Agartala in 2012, Bangladesh had made a request for supply of 100MW power from Palatana project. Mr Sarkar was the first to concede to the demand, which was eventually cleared by the central government. Bangladesh has been showing specific interest in Palatana as plant turbines and oversized equipments were ferried through Bangladesh waterways under an interim transit facility.

Tripura will be the first north-east state to benefit from the internet bandwidth, and other north-east states will gradually get the uninterrupted internet services after the launch of international gateway third after that of Mumbai and Chennai. BSNL has already signed a deal with Submarine Cable Company Limited of Bangladesh (BSCCL) to provide high speed internet bandwidth from Cox Bazar in southeast Bangladesh.

According to the pact signed between two countries during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dhaka in June 2015, BSNL will spend Rs. 20 crore ($297,600) for the project installation and pay Rs. 7.2 crore ($107,136) annually to BSCCL for hiring bandwidth.

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