Burma to sell electricity to Bangladesh

By Tun Kyaw, Dhaka: A Burmese company is keen on setting up a 500 MW hydroelectric power plant in Arakan State and export electricity to Bangladesh. This was announced by Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni yesterday.

During her recent visit to Burma she held discussions with the authorities of a local company the Shwe Taung Development Co. which has leased land in Arakan State to set up two power plants which will export electricity to Bangladesh in order to meet its rising demand.

A team of technical experts from the Ministry of Energy is expected to visit Arakan State in the first week of July for a feasibility study on the prospects of electricity import, she said at a seminar on Bangladesh-Burma Relations organized by the Bangladesh Institute of International Strategic Studies ( BIISS).

The quantum of bilateral trade between the two countries will be increased from the present 140 million US dollar to 500 million US dollar during the 2009-10 fiscal year.

Establishment of direct banking facilities will also be beneficial to the businessmen of both countries, she said.

On road communication Bangladesh is seeking a highway and a railway route linking Burma, other Southeast Asian countries and China. This is underway. Moreover, an airline between Bangladesh and Burma will start operating very soon. To facilitate trade and tourism, bi-weekly direct flights on the Mandalay-Cox’s Bazaar route can be operated by any Bangladeshi private airline, Dip Muni said.

The Bangladesh government is also preparing and updating a list of Muslim refugees from Burma who number around 22,000, at Burma’s request for repatriation to their home country, she said.

A political observer in exile says, there is no hydroelectricity in Arakan State for the Arakanese people under Burmese rule till today. This despite the abundant rivers, creeks and water-falls which can help generate hydroelectricity in the state. Natural gas is also available in great quantity in this state. Despite all this the Arakanese people are in a state of extreme poverty.

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