Calling the North-East region the gateway for India to other Asian markets such as Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday promised to build physical infrastructure, provide digital connectivity and develope its natural gas resources in the region.
While dedicating to the nation ONGC Tripura Power Company’s (OTPC) second 363 MW unit of the Palatana power plant here, Modi accepted Bangladesh’s demand for purchasing more power from this facility.
India wants to strengthen trade ties with Bangladesh, especially in power and petroleum products trading and in oil and gas exploration.
Besides, inland access to Bangladesh’s Chittagong port, which is just over 80 km from Agartala, will open up a shorter route for the North Eastern region to markets like Myanmar and Thailand. Modi thanked Sheikh Hasina, without whose co-operation, he said, timely delivery of machinery to the Palatana plant would not have been possible.
Tripura chief minister Manik Sirkar, who was present on the occasion, proposed to Modi that the state was willing to set up a urea plant and a medium sized petrochemical plant in the state utilising natural gas that ONGC produces in the state. Union government offers investment linked tax incentives for setting up fertiliser plants.
After ONGC’s second power plant, Tripura wants more end use industries like fertiliser plants and petrochemical units which would boost economic activities and create jobs. This is also set to benefit ONGC having significant gas reserves in Tripura, which are yet to be fully developed due to low industrial demand here.
“Saarc nations have decided to co-operate in the energy sector. If Bangladesh is keen to buy power from India, we are ready to sell,” said Modi.
Tawfiq-e-Elahi Choudhury Bir Bikram, advisor to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on power, energy and natural resource affairs, who was present on the occasion and spoke before Modi, had expressed his country’s desire to purchase more power from India.