Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina on Saturday inaugurated a Rs 377-crore pipeline to transport diesel from India to northern Bangladesh, cutting cost and reducing carbon footprint.

The pipeline will start a new chapter in India-Bangladesh relations, Modi said at the inauguration. Currently, diesel is supplied to Bangladesh through a 512-km rail route. The 131.5-km pipeline will supply up to 1 million tonnes per annum of diesel from Numaligarh in Assam to Bangladesh.

This would not just help save on transportation costs but also reduce the carbon footprint of moving the fuel, Modi said. The pipeline will run from the Siliguri-based marketing terminal of the Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) to the Parbatipur depot of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC). The fuel transport deal between the two countries will be in force for 15 years with an option for further extension during subsequent phases on the agreement of both countries.

On the occasion Modi also said, “In the last few years, under the able leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has made remarkable progress and every Indian is proud of that. And we are also happy that we have been able to contribute to this journey of Bangladesh’s development. I am sure that this pipeline will further accelerate the growth of Bangladesh, and will also be an excellent example of increasing connectivity between the two countries. It is necessary that we keep on strengthening every pillar of our connectivity. Whether it is in the field of transport, in the field of energy, in the field of electricity, or in the digital field, the more our connectivity increases, the more our people-to-people relations will be strengthened.”

“I remember, a few years back Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had talked about her vision of restoring the pre-1965 rail connectivity. And since then the two countries have made much progress in that area. As a result of that, during the Covid 19 epidemic, we were able to send oxygen to Bangladesh through that rail network. I would like to heartily congratulate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ji for this far-sighted vision of hers.”

“Our mutual cooperation in the field of electricity has been very successful. Today India is supplying more than 1100 Mega Watt electricity to Bangladesh. The first unit of the Maitri Super Thermal Power Plant has also become operational. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina last year during her visit to India. And now we are working towards commissioning the second unit soon,” Modi pointed out.

“As far as energy cooperation is concerned, our petroleum trade has crossed $1 billion. It is a matter of pride that our cooperation is there in the entire value chain of hydrocarbons. Whether it is up-stream, mid-stream, or down-stream. With this pipeline, this cooperation will be more extensive.”The pipeline will supply High Speed Diesel initially to seven districts in northern Bangladesh.

This will be the second cross-border energy pipeline in South Asia, the first being the Indo-Nepal cross-border pipeline. Motihari-Amlekhgunj pipeline is a 69 km (43 mi) long trans-border petroleum pipeline between Amlekhgunj Oil Depot in Parsa of Nepal and Motihari in Bihar. It has an annual capacity of two million metric tonnes.

The pipeline stretches 125-km inside Bangladesh territory and 5-km inside India. The project connects Siliguri in West Bengal with Parbatipur in Dinajpur in Northern Bangladesh. The two PMs had joined the ground-breaking ceremony for the pipeline in September 2018.

Bangladesh currently imports diesel from India through railway carriages. The construction of the pipeline will cut down the transport cost for oil, save time, and allow more oil to be imported, according to Bangladesh officials.

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