India-BD fuel pipeline a milestone in ties: PM
Hasina-Modi inaugurate first-ever cross-border energy pipeline
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi inaugurated the first-ever cross-border energy pipeline called "India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline" on Mach 18 through a video conference.
Sheikh Hasina said on Saturday that the inauguration of "India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline" is a milestone achievement in mutual cooperation for the development of the two friendly neighbours.
"I believe that the friendship pipeline is a milestone achievement in cooperation for the development between the two friendly countries," she said.
Both the Prime Ministers opened the "Friendship Pipeline" by pressing a button, Sheikh Hasina joined the function from her official Ganabhaban residence in Dhaka while Narendra Modi was connected from his Delhi office.
"This pipeline will ensure energy security for Bangladesh and will benefit the people of both the countries while many countries across the globe are facing serious fuel crisis due to the Russia-Ukraine war," Sheikh Hasina said giving thanks to the Indian Primer Narendra Modi for cooperating with the implementation of the pipeline project.
"We have settled all our bilateral problems one by one," the Prime Minister said mentioning that both the neighbouring countries are working together for their development, she said while inaugurating the 131.57-km cross-border pipeline as part of energy sector cooperation between the two neighbouring countries through which Bangladesh will import petroleum, especially diesel from India.
The first ever cross border energy pipeline between India and Bangladesh was built at an estimated cost of Rs 377 crore. The Bangladesh portion of the pipeline, built at a cost of Rs 285 crore (approx.), has been financed by the Indian government under its grant assistance.
"We are getting cooperation for our development from India," she said.
"The time and expenditure for importing diesel from India will be reduced significantly by this pipeline," she added.
Hasina said that India is the genuine friend of Bangladesh.
"I want that the friendship of our two countries will remain intact," she said.
She said that Bangladesh has got the recognition as a developing country and the government wanted to implement that.
"By 2041 we want to make Bangladesh more developed," she said.
"That is our aim. Because we want that our countries' development will expedite," she said.
She also said that the government has developed Mongla Port, Chattogram Port, Sylhet International Airport, Chattogram International Airport while Saidpur Airport has been upgraded as the regional airport.
"We are opening these ports for India completely, there will be no problem for India to use these ports. It will ease the trade and business activities, and the people of the both countries will be benefited," she said.
She invited investors from India to come up with their investments in the economic zones across the country which will be beneficial for the two neighbouring countries.
The government is establishing 100 economic zones across the country.
Sheikh Hasina recalled the contributions of the government and the people of India during the Liberation War of Bangladesh, and extended her personal gratitude for the cooperation they extended to her after the brutal assassination of the Father of the Nation on 15th of August in 1975.
Modi also spoke at the programme joining from his office.
The Indian Prime Minister's Office said in a press release that the operation of the "India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline" will put in place a sustainable, reliable, cost-effective and environment-friendly mode of transporting HSD from India to Bangladesh.
It will further enhance cooperation in energy security between the two friendly neighbours, it added.
The pipeline has a capacity to transport 1(one) million metric ton per annum (MMTPA) of High-Speed Diesel (HSD). It will supply High Speed Diesel initially to seven districts in northern Bangladesh.
A long-term agreement was signed in 2017 to import diesel from India to Bangladesh through the pipeline, which stretches from West Bengal's Siliguri to a Meghna petroleum depot in Dinajpur's Parbatipur, according to official sources.
The foundation stone of the pipeline was laid in 2018 to provide fuel supply to 16 districts of the northern region of the country.
As part of the energy sector cooperation between Bangladesh and India, the two neighbouring nations built the pipeline to annually import 250,000 tonnes to 400,000 tonnes of diesel for the next 15 years.
"It will help us to address the energy crisis in the country's northern part, we estimate that the pipeline will help to increase fuel supply by 29,000 tonnes in 16 districts of the country," State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said.
Bangladesh will get the diesel from India's Numaligarh Refinery, located in Golaghat in north-eastern Indian State of Assam, while Bangladesh will receive it at Parbatipur Petroleum Fuel Depot in north-western district of Dinajpur.
Through this pipeline Bangladesh will annually import 250,000 tonnes in the first three years, 300,000 tonnes annually in the 4th to 6th years, 350,000 tonnes annually in the 7th to 10th years and 400,000 tonnes annually from the 11th to 15th year, according to the deal.
Bangladesh has been importing 22,000 tonnes of diesel per month through railway wagons from Assam. Bangladesh annually needs to import 6.6 million tonnes to 7.7 million tonnes of petroleum to meet its demand.