Narinjara news

Trans-Burma Gas Pipeline

Dhaka, 7 July 02: There has been much uproar regarding a three hundred million dollar three-nation gas transit pipeline. Through this transit pipeline the gas from Burma (Arakan State) and Tripura State (Northeastern India) will go to West Bengal. Bangladesh will earn a sum of twenty-four million dollar a year as it opens up transit facilities for the multinational deal.

Besides this, 150 million dollar will be spent in Bangladesh out of the 300 million dollar meant for providing 289-kilometre long pipeline linkage with the existing national gas grid. The Bangladeshi Fuel Ministry has meanwhile conducted technical consultations for the feasibility of the project with the specialists on the subject considering the seriousness of the lucrative deal. The proposal will be sent in a couple of days to the Petrobangla the national fuel company. An official there told that depending on the report by Petrobangla the Fuel Ministry will take necessary steps to give green signal to the prospective deal.

It was learnt that, though the proposal for the gas export pipeline made by the multinational giant Unocal has been under active consideration of the Bangladeshi government for some time, this proposal for supply of gas to a gas-starved West Bengal did not come from any of the diplomatic sources. Instead, a little known Bangladeshi company, the Mohana Holdings Ltd, put up the proposal to the government. On inquiry it was learnt that, a former state minister, Dr Mizanur Rahman Shelly, is the chairman of the Mohana Holdings.

The Chairman of the feasibility study team of the project and managing director of the organization in control of the pipeline, GTCL, M Mainul Ahsan told a correspondent of a Dhaka vernacular daily that, the matter is still ‘mere conceptual’. But he thinks that under such an arrangement made through tripartite agreement, the ‘carrier’ country gains profit through taxes received. In this regards the GTCL can also reap financial benefit through the operation and maintenance of the gas pipeline.

It was leant that, the gas from a number of gas fields in Burma and Tripura State of Northeastern India will be supplied to West Bengal by the construction of Burma-Bangladesh-India tripartite pipeline called ‘Trans-Myanmar Transit pipeline’. No connection from the Bangladesh gas fields whatsoever will be given to this trans-national gas grid.

According to the original concept of a 289 kilometre long pipeline, pipelines from a number of gas fields in Burma will be connected with those from Tripura State. From there the gas pipelines will have connections at Brahmanbaria on Bangladesh side with the national gas grid.

On the Burma side, a number of tunnels have been reported to be under construction at and around Kyauktaw in Arakan State for the last a few months. The officials declined to say anything about the tunnels or to what use they will be put to when contacted.

Finally this grid will be connected at a suitable point with that of the West Bengal grid. West Bengal would receive ‘the same amount of gas that Burma and Tripura supply to the Bangladeshi grid’, an official of Petrobangla said. #