ADB help sought to assess benefits
Bangladesh has sought Asian Development Bank assistance in carrying out a study on the economic benefits of providing transit facility to India. Dhaka also sought ADB help for a project for importing electricity from India.
The ADB has already indicated that it would provide $97.63 million for the power import project and also assist in conducting the transit-related study, Economic Relations Division (ERD) sources said.
Meanwhile, a delegation led by the prime minister’s economic adviser Mashiur Rahman went to Manila on Wednesday to seek ADB assistance for different projects for regional cooperation, including transit facility.
The communications ministry last month sent a proposal to the ADB seeking assistance for the study ‘Economic Analysis of the Introduction of Transit between Bangladesh and India’.
And the Power Division sought ADB assistance for the project 400 KV Grid Interconnection between India (Baharampur) and Bangladesh (Bheramra).
During its stay in Manila, the team led by Mashiur would discuss the two proposals with the ADB president and other top officials. They would also have talks on sub-regional cooperation among Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Bhutan on railway network and several corridor projects, sources said.
In January, during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India, the two countries reached consensus on several issues of regional cooperation including transit, according to the joint communiqué on the talks in Delhi.
“It was agreed that Bangladesh will allow use of Mongla and Chittagong sea ports for movement of goods to and from India through road and rail. Bangladesh also conveyed their intention to give Nepal and Bhutan access to Mongla and Chittagong ports,” said the joint communiqué.
At the Bangladesh Development Forum meet in Dhaka last month, Bangladesh sought cooperation from the donors for materialising regional cooperation. A World Bank Pre-Identification Mission for the Proposed North East Regional Trade and Transport Facilitation Project, now in Dhaka, is discussing issues relating the poject.
In 2007, the ADB proposed to provide $1 million to promote economic cooperation and integration between four South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) countries Bangladesh, India Nepal and Bhutan. It also offered help to prepare an investment project that will facilitate unhindered movement of goods, services, and people across these countries.
For this, the ADB proposed SASEC Transport Logistics and Trade Facilitation Project having three components — road corridor, rail link and modernised cross border regime.
Writer Rejaul Karim Byron