Multilateral dialogue on energy cooperation soon: Bangladesh FM

AMA Muhith, Bangladesh Finance Minister, at a media conference in Kolkata. - Photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty

AMA Muhith, Bangladesh Finance Minister, at a media conference in Kolkata. – Photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty

Four South Asian nations — India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan — will soon meet for a comprehensive multilateral dialogue on cross-border energy cooperation, said the visiting Bangladesh Finance Minister AMA Muhith.

Bangladesh, he said, was also seeking cooperation from India for improvement of its waterways, river ports and road infrastructure. The proposed meeting will be held “soon,” Muhith said. The proposed meet would pick up thread from the recent SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation for the eastern sector of South Asia.

The SAARC nations are also working towards signing two other agreements on infrastructure. The eastern markets of Nepal and Bhutan, each with hydroelectric potentials of 83,000 MW and 30,000 MW, respectively, could provide hydroelectricity to India and Bangladesh.

India is also looking to export electricity from its north-eastern region with potential to generate some 58,971 MW to its eastern States through Bangladesh.

Bangladesh hopes to have access to Nepal and Bhutan’s power through India. Bangladesh has formally requested a ‘power corridor’ to access the Bhutanese and Nepalese markets. It has agreed to allow India to transfer hydroelectricity from Assam to Bihar through its territory. The proposed meeting would attempt to remove irritants in project-related areas.

At a Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry meeting, the Bangladesh Minister said his country was facing some problems in importing coal from India (Meghalaya). The country, which depends on imported coal for power generation, is now exploring the possibility of importing coal from Indonesia.

Muhith said for the proposed bridge project over Padma river, there had not been cooperation arrangement between Bangladesh and India.

“There is no evidence” of Saradha money in any banks of Bangladesh, Muhith said, adding that his Government could not find evidence of money trail leading to any Islamist group in his country.

However, more investigation was on, he indicated. “Our banks need to probe more. As far as we know, there is no fund for militant activities in the banks,” he reiterated.

Source: The Hindu