The construction of India-Bangladesh Friendship Product Pipeline Project and a railway project connecting the two countries were on Tuesday flagged off jointly through video conferencing by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina.
At an estimated project cost of Rs 346 crore, expected to be completed in 30 months, the 129 km long India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline will connect Siliguri in India with Parbatipur in Bangladesh and will transport petroleum products from Numaligarh Refinery (NRL) in Assam. While five km of the pipeline is in India the rest of the pipeline will be implemented by Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation.
As reported earlier by FE, laying of a product pipeline from Siliguri to Partapur in Bangladesh is possible due to enhanced product availability after the expansion of the Numaligarh refinery in Assam. This is expected to help in exporting of around 1 mtpa diesel to Bangladesh.
This pipeline is part of Modi government’s efforts to set up such pipelines connecting India with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), which had decided in 2014, to build cross-border pipeline routes for ferrying natural gas and products. The idea behind such a network of pipelines was to build a better hydrocarbon transportation network to meet increasing demand for energy.
The feasibility study was carried out by Bangladesh under the Saarc inter-governmental framework agreement for energy co-operation (IGFA-EC). The member nations of SAARC include: Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.
At today event, the ground-breaking ceremony of the Dhaka-Tongi-Jaydebpur railway project was also held. With a capacity of one million metric tonnes per annum, the gas pipeline project will replace the existing practice of sending diesel by rail covering a distance of 510 Km and will help in the development of the northern Bangladesh.
Inaugurating the Project, Modi who was joined by External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj and Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, said the ease in relationship between the two countries is not because of technology but growing relationship. “Though it is being done with grant-financing from India, the project will be dedicated to the people and government of Bangladesh once completed,” he added.
Modi described the cooperation between the two countries as an example for the world and the proposed pipeline will further energise, not just Bangladesh’s economy, but also the relationship between the two countries. He expressed confidence that the proposed railway project will contribute to the process of strengthening national and urban transport in Bangladesh.“In the last few years our cooperation has shown that when two neighbouring countries decide, a lot can be achieved—be it decades old boundary dispute or economic projects—we have achieved a lot and I give credit for this to you,” said Modi.
“I am confident that the pipeline Project will be major assets for development of Bangladesh particularly in North Bangladesh. The pipeline will boost ties between India and Bangladesh. Though the pipeline is funded by India but it is matter of pride when the project is completed it would be dedicated to the people of Bangladesh. The railway project will help in developing Bangladesh national railway network, he remarked.
“In 10 days, we have inaugurated five projects. The momentum is because of your leadership. In coming days we will work for bright future of the people of India and Bangladesh,” he said.
From Dhaka, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that development of South Asia is a major challenge. Cooperation between two countries will further boost economic development of South Asia. “In the recent past cooperation in different sectors have given new boost to our relationship.”
Earlier, Minister for External Affairs said that the way the progress of the project is being pursued by the two governments is testimony tour joint commitment, broadening, deepening and intensifying the India-Bangladesh relationship. We are committed to expanding our cooperation to every sector of our activity so that this partnership send before the world as an outstanding example of our true friendship based on equality, mutual trust and respect.
Meanwhile, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that the project will go a long way in strengthening Indo-Bangla ties.