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Power Secretary discusses Maitree thermal power project with Bangladeshi counterpart

Power Secretary Alok Kumar & his Bangladeshi counterpart discussed the challenges posed by COVID-19 in the implementation of Maitree thermal power project

Power Secretary discusses Maitree thermal power project with Bangladeshi counterpart
Power Secretary discusses Maitree thermal power project with Bangladeshi counterpart
  • Kumar assured Bangladesh’s Power Secretary that BHEL and BIFPCL are confident to meet the timelines
  • The first unit of this project would be commissioned in December this year, coinciding with the golden jubilee celebration of Victory Day of Bangladesh

New Delhi: Power Secretary Alok Kumar held a meeting with his counterpart in Bangladesh on Tuesday through video conferencing to discuss the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the implementation of the 1,320 MW Maitree thermal power project. Kumar assured Bangladesh’s Power Secretary that BHEL and BIFPCL are confident to meet the timelines, with the support of the government of Bangladesh in the matter of entry permission and VISA approvals for highly skilled ex-pat manpower from India, customs related issues, imposition of Advance Income Tax (AIT) after latest SRO 126, court case against BHEL employees posted at Maitree Site and in offices in India and vaccination of the work force.

The COVID-19 crisis since March 2020 has presented challenges for the people of both the countries and has impacted the implementation of the Maitree thermal power project. Tuesday’s Secretary-level meeting was convened shortly after the 8th High Level Monitoring Committee meeting held on June 17, during which certain critical issues were identified which had to be addressed for timely commissioning of Unit-1.

Unit-1 of Maitree thermal power project to be commissioned in Dec

The project is an environmentally friendly supercritical technology based thermal power plant being executed by NTPC Ltd through a joint venture with Bangladesh Power Development Board. The first unit of this project would be commissioned in December this year, coinciding with the golden jubilee celebration of Victory Day of Bangladesh. And Unit-2 is expected to be commissioned in pace with the implementation of associated transmission system.

Bangladesh’s Power Secretary assured India of all necessary support for the completion of the project in time and appreciated the progress made by the project so far, despite the constraints posed by COVID-19 since last year.

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Both sides also discussed the date of the meeting of the next joint working group (JWG) for the India-Bangladesh Cooperation in power sector. It has been decided to hold JWG/JSC meeting in the third week of September.

The backdrop

The news comes just days after the first coal rake meant for Maitree thermal power project left from Dahibari siding of Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL), the Jharkhand-based coal producing subsidiary of Coal India Ltd (CIL). This was also the first export of coal flagged by CIL after it tweaked its e-auction coal sale policy, allowing buyers to export coal procured under two e-auction windows.

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