Dhaka – The construction of 130-kilometer oil pipeline between Bangladesh and India has begun as prime ministers from the two next-door neighbours jointly laid the foundation stone of the project Tuesday.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi inaugurated the project through a video conferencing from their respective offices in Dhaka and New Delhi.
Bangladesh will import initially 250,000 tonnes of diesel oil every year from India through the pipeline once its construction is completed by 2020. The Pipeline will connect Shiliguri of Indian State of West Bengal and Parbatipur of Bangladeshi district of Dinajpur.
The objective of construction of the pipeline is to minimize carrying cost of oil import the world’s third largest energy consuming country. India also depends upon importing crude oil for its domestic use.
Through the cross-border pipeline, India will supply fuel oil from its Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL), located at Golaghat in the northeastern state of Assam, while Bangladesh will receive the oil at Parbatipur depot of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) in Dinajpur.
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, according to a deal signed in April this year.
“I look forward to continued support from the government of India in our development pursuit. I’m quite sure we’ll get such many happy events in the days ahead for the welfare of our people,” Bangladeshi Prime Minister Hasina said inaugurating the project.
Hasina and Modi also inaugurated the construction of the third and fourth dual gauge rail lines of Dhaka-Tongi and Tongi-Joydevpur sections of Bangladesh Railway.
Hasina said the economic development is the biggest challenge for South Asian countries. “The prospects for economic development will substantially be enhanced through undertaking bilateral projects like this,” she said.
Bilateral cooperation between Bangladesh and India has reached a new height over the past few years, she said adding that people of Bangladesh and India have always been good neighbours.
Hasina mentioned that an excellent environment of bilateral cooperation prevails between the two neighbouring countries since her assumption office in 2009.
Bangladesh and India engaged in mutual cooperation in the fields of security, power and energy, trade, communication, infrastructure development, environment, renewable energy, education, culture, people-to-people contact and health in the past years, she said.
The 130-km India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline from Shiliguri to Parbatipur in Bangladesh is a new milestone in the history of cooperation between the two countries, she added.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the two countries implemented a number of projects within a short time. These are the symbols of good relations between the two countries, he added.
“We always extend our hands in our happiness and sorrow to the neighbours as we are not only neighbours, culturally we are a family,” said the Indian Prime Minister.
“We’ve proved that we could solve problems if we wish.”
The pipeline project will play a significant role in Bangladesh’s development as fuel oil could be supplied to the northern region at a low cost, he said.