Dhaka seeks solar power grid, cruise among BIMSTEC nations

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KATHMANDU, Aug 31, 2018 (BSS) – Bangladesh today proposed introduction of solar power grid in the BIMSTEC countries and ‘BIMSTEC Cruise’ on their sea routes.

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made the two proposals at the BIMSTEC Leaders’ Retreat Session here this morning,” Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque said while briefing reporters after the session at the Poolside of Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza here.

The foreign secretary said the prime minister also made a proposal for strengthening the BIMSTEC Secretariat in Dhaka, which was accepted by all members of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) grouping.

Haque said an MoU on the BIMSTEC Grid Inter-Connection, the most important feature of the 4th BIMSTEC Summit, was signed.

Due to the inking of the MoU, a framework will be developed and the issues of power production and distribution as well as investment in the sector and the price of electricity in the case of buying and selling by the member countries will be brought under the framework, he said.

The foreign secretary said a working group will now be formed and it will take all decisions like determining the amount of electricity to be bought or sold by the BIMSTEC countries as well as the amount of their investment in the power sector.

Quoting the prime minister, he said the BIMSTEC Leaders’ Retreat Session discussed the potentiality of renewable energy and opined that solar electricity grid could be made among the member states of the regional grouping.

The prime minister said many countries produce huge solar electricity and it could be transferred to other countries having shortage of power. “It could be identified as a huge potential,” the foreign secretary quoted the premier as saying.

Haque said the prime minister mentioned that an arrangement for introduction of cruise ships through the oceans and rivers of the BIMSTEC countries could be made.

“The BIMSTEC Cruise has a huge potentiality,” he said quoting the premier.

When a question was raised at the session about Nepal and Bhutan as they have no seaports, the prime minister said the two landlocked countries could use Bangladesh’s seaports for tourism.

The foreign secretary said the prime minister made another proposal for strengthening the BIMSTEC Secretariat in Dhaka and it was endorsed by all BIMSTEC nations.

Now, he said, seven directors instead of the existing three will be appointed to the secretariat by the BIMSTEC member states.

The foreign secretary said the prime minister discussed with the leaders of BIMSTEC states about different regional and international issues as well as other issues related to Bangladesh.

He said the BIMSTEC member states have agreed to boost trade and investment among them under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) of the forum.

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