India and Bangladesh have decided to set up a joint-venture 1,320-megawatt power plant as a mark of co-operation. The two neighbours have also agreed to a cross-border power grid.

The joint-venture power plant, to be constructed in southern Khulna in Bangladesh, will be operational within two years.

The decisions were taken at the second meeting of the Bangladesh-India Joint Steering Committee on the power sector which was formed during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's recent visit to New Delhi.

Bangladesh Power Secretary Abul Kalam Azad, who led the host team in the talks, said the two countries had finalised the details of the grid and reached a broad agreement on building the coal-fired plant. The two-unit power plant (660mw each) will cost about $1.8 billion.

The cooperation will facilitate Bangladesh's import of 250 mw to meet the power demand. Power Secretary HS Brahma said India was offering “the cheapest rates” — varying between Rs 2 and Rs 2.5 (Tk 3-3.5).

India's National Thermal Power Cooperation (NTPC) and the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) signed the MoUs on Friday.

Mr. Brahma told journalists that the project required 130km grid connectivity — 85km in India and 45km in Bangladesh. The grid costs will be shared proportionately —Tk 1100 crore by Bangladesh and about Tk 200 crore by India.

Mr. Azad said the cost was comparatively higher for Bangladesh “as we have to set up a Hi-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) sub-station on our side”. “The capacity of the transmission will be increased as we plan to import more electricity from India in the next phase.”

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