Dhaka : Bangladesh and India today signed a landmark deal for the construction of a 1,320 megawatt coal
fired power plant, the biggest project under bilateral cooperation that would mark the transition from electricity export to generation level.
Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company (Pvt) Limited (BIFPCL), the joint venture enterprise inked the deal with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), which was selected under an open international tender for constructing the super thermal plant at Bangladesh’s southwestern Rampal near the Sundarbans. India’s Exim Bank will provide USD 1.49 billion for the project, scheduled to start generating power in 2019. “This ceremony marks the beginning of the biggest project under Bangladesh-India cooperation,” state minister for energy and power Nasrul Hamid said.
The deal came amid concerns by environmental groups that the the plant could affect the delicate ecosystem of theorld’s largest mangrove forest, spreading over both Bangladesh and India, reports PTI. Speakers, including Prime Minister sheikh Hasina’s energy affairs adviser Toufiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury and her principal secretary Abul Kalam Azad negated the environmentalists concerns saying the world’s most efficient and environment-friendly technology was being used to set up the plant. “We have a coal-powered plant at (northwestern) Barapukuria in a crowded location which is not affecting the environment while the technology being used for the Rampal plant is far more modern and most environment friendly (than that of Barapukuria),” Azad said.
BIFPCL managing director Ujjwal Kanti Bhattacharya said, “We respect the concern of the people of Bangladesh, we are set to maintain the maximum environmental standards for the plant”.