PM Modi, Hasina jointly inaugurate Indo-Bangla friendship pipeline, rail projects


Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina (on the screen) jointly unveil e-plaques for the ground-breaking ceremony of two projects - India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline & Dhaka-Tongi-Joydebpur Railway Project - via video conference, in New Delhi, Tuesday, September 18, 2018. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan are also seen. (PIB Photo via PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina (on the screen) jointly unveil e-plaques for the ground-breaking ceremony of two projects via video conference, in New Delhi, Tuesday, September 18, 2018. (PIB Photo via PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday described the cooperation between India and Bangladesh as an example for the world as he jointly inaugurated the construction of a 130-kilometre friendship pipeline project and two railway projects with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina.

The India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline Project, inaugurated through a video conferencing, will connect Siliguri in West Bengal in India and Parbatipur in Dinajpur district of Bangladesh.

The Rs 346-crore project will be completed in 30 months and the capacity of the pipeline will be one million metric tonnes per annum.

Both countries had entered into an agreement for the pipeline construction in April this year during Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale’s visit to Dhaka.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister Modi described the cooperation between the two countries as an example for the world, according to an official statement.

He said the two countries were neighbours, geographically and family, emotionally.

“Geographically we are neighbours. But emotionally, we are a family. Being part of each other’s joys and sorrows, helping each other in development is part of our family. In the past few years, we have shown to the world that when neighbours decide then a lot can be achieved,” Modi said at the event.

Modi said the pipeline will “add a new chapter in the friendship of the two countries”.

He said the proposed pipeline will further energise not just Bangladesh’s economy, but also the relationship between the two countries.

The Prime Minister said be it decades-old border dispute or development projects, the two countries have made unprecedented progress.

He said the project will boost the friendship between India and Bangladesh and the pipeline will help fulfil energy needs at a cheaper rate to Bangladesh’s northern part.

Through the cross-border pipeline, India will supply fuel oil from its Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL), located at Golaghat in the north-eastern state of Assam, while Bangladesh will receive the oil at Parbatipur Depot of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) in north-western district of Dinajpur.

Modi said although the project was financed by India, after its completion the infrastructure would be handed over to the Bangladesh government.

Officials said this pipeline will play an effective role in further strengthening the energy security of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh and India signed an MoU on April 9 last to set up the pipeline aimed at pumping Indian oil to Bangladesh with a capacity of 1 million tonnes per year, the report said.

India will supply 2.5 lakh tonnes of diesel for the first three years.

The import of fuel through the pipeline will be raised further as per the requirements of Bangladesh. The NRL will distribute diesel for 15 years through the pipeline and the time could be expanded following the consent of both sides, local media reported.

With the completion of construction of the pipeline, the deal on sale and purchase will be made effective, the report said, quoting BPC sources.

The Parbatipur Depot formally received the first consignment of 2,268 tonnes of diesel from the NRL through rail wagons on March 19, 2016.

Through the rail wagons, Bangladesh has imported 57,000 tonnes of diesel from India till July 2018 and it is expected that another 50,000 tonnes will be brought from India in August-December 2018 through the same way.

Besides the pipeline, the two leaders also inaugurated the construction of the third and fourth dual-gauge rail lines in Dhaka-Tongi section and the dual-gauge rail line in Tongi-Joydebpur section of Bangladesh Railway.

Modi said Dhaka-Tongi-Joydebpur Railway project will improve connectivity between the two countries and generate more revenue.

He expressed confidence that the proposed railway project will contribute to the process of strengthening national and urban transport in Bangladesh, the statement said.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina sought India’s continued support and cooperation for Bangladesh’s development.

She said Bangladesh-India bilateral cooperation has reached to a new height in the past few years while prospects for economic development would substantially be enhanced through such bilateral projects as “economic development is the biggest challenge for South Asian countries”.

“We’ve to work collectively for the development and prosperity for the people of both countries in the new areas, including energy, power, road and rail communications,” she told the conference from her Ganobhaban official residence.

“I’m quite sure that we will get many such happy events in the days ahead for the welfare of the people of Bangladesh and India,” she added.