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
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
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. #