OTPC facilitates a new ‘Silk Route’ through Bangladesh for the North-Eastern states
ONGC Tripura Power Company (OTPC), an ONGC Group JV, has signed an MoU with the Govt. of Bangladesh at Dhaka on 30th November, 2010 to open up a new transport corridor through Bangladesh to facilitate the transportation of heavy equipments of OTPC to the North-eastern state of Tripura.
The MoU was signed by Mr. R.K. Madan, Senior Adviser (Business Development, ONGC) & Director, OTPC on behalf of ONGC/OTPC and Mr. Azizur Rahman, Chief Engineer, Roads and Highways Deptt., representing the Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Mr. Shahjahan Khan, Hon’ble Minister of Shipping, Government of Bangladesh, Mr. Abdul Mannan Howlader, Secretary Shipping, Mr. Mozammel Haque Khan, Secretary, Roads and Highways, other senior officials from the Government of Bangladesh witnessed the MoU signing ceremony. From the Indian side, Mr. Sushil Singhal, First Secretary, High Commission of India in Dhaka, Mr. A K Hazarika, Director (Onshore), ONGC, Mr. S K Dube, MD, OTPC were also present on this momentous occasion.
Immediately after the MoU signing, Mr. Hazarika said, “This is agreat help for India and we look forward to more help from Bangladesh for the development of India’s North-Eastern region.”
Pursuant to this MoU, Bangladesh authorities will, for the first time, allow the use of Ashuganj port on the mighty Meghna River and the connecting road network between Ashuganj–Sultanpur–Akhaura check post (around 48 km). This will facilitate the transportation of two Gas turbines, two steam turbines and about hundred ODC (Over Dimensional Cargo) items required for the OTPC’s ambitious 726.6 MW Combined Cycle Gas based power plant at Palatana, Tripura.
The transit route through Bangladesh shall enable cutting down the commissioning time by around 7 to 8 months compared to the earlier plans of transporting the ODCs through a far challenging & complex route through Karimganj, Manu-Ambassa mountainous tracts and a large no of river crossings in Tripura.
To materialize this new corridor, OTPC will incur the required expenditure for the (i) development of a Roll-On, Roll-Off (Ro-Ro) Jetty at Ashuganj port, (ii) construction of around 16 by-passes on water bodies (culverts, rain / storm water rivulets & 2 major rivers and (iii) repair, strengthening & widening of road between Sultanpur and Akhaura border. The work on all the required infrastructure has since commenced and is expected to be ready by mid February, 2011.
OTPC, a JV of ONGC (50%), IL&FS (26%) and Govt. of Tripura (0.5%), will shoulder the responsibility of developing, strengthening, and improving the required infrastructure by deploying contractors and other local resources from Bangladesh. The contractors will work under the supervision of the Roads and Highways Department of Bangladesh.
Mr. R.S. Sharma, CMD, ONGC and Chairman, OTPC while reviewing the Project implementation status in the Board meeting of OTPC held at New Delhi on 13.12.2010, commented, “This historic MoU will facilitate opening up of a new ‘Silk Route’ for the North-East. This will immensely help in safe and timely passage of ODCs to the project site ensuring timely commissioning of OTPC’s Power Plant, within the XI Five Year Plan.”
“The other significant implication of this MOU is the opening up of the new and a much convenient route for the growth of trade between the two countries through an easy access between North-eastern states of India and Bangladesh. This will also usher in the development of closer ties between the people of two countries.” Mr. Sharma added.
Citing the fact that the commissioning of the above Power Plant will go a long way in mitigating the power shortages in the entire North Eastern Region, ushering in opportunities for the economic, social and holistic development of the region, Mr. Sharma also said that the commissioning of this Power Plant would be a landmark achievement in the logistically challenging and land locked State of Tripura.
Combined with the investments for drilling new wells, laying of gas pipelines as well as downstream transmission system, implementation of this project at an aggregated investments in excess of Rs. 8,000 crore, is going to be the largest ever investment for any single scheme in the entire North-Eastern region of India.
Post-commissioning, the project will help in monetizing the gas discoveries made by ONGC in Tripura during the last two decades, which have remained under-utilized thus far due to lack of appropriate customer demand. The implementation of this Power Project would enable ONGC to increase its gas production in the State from the current level of 1.7 million cubic meters a day to over 5.5 million cubic meters a day.
The first unit of the Project with 363.3 MW capacity is expected to be commissioned in the last quarter of calendar year 2011, i.e. within the XI Plan Period itself, as scheduled.
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd.
Corporate Communications, New Delhi,