a year ago

Rooppur power evacuation project faces problem

India delists funding package from credit line following tendering disagreement

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With the vital power-evacuation project getting into trouble, uncertainty hovers over commissioning of the maiden nuclear power plant in Bangladesh even after its completion.

Sources say transmission facilities may remain incomplete following problem with the evacuation project funding as India has delisted it from credit line.

The government signed a $1.06 billion loan agreement under LoC-3 with India in 2017 to implement the power-evacuation project to facilitate power transmission from the two-unit 2400MW Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP).

The project was scheduled to end within 2022 to be able to transmit power from the 1200MW RNPP Unit-1, which is expected to be ready by the first half of 2023.

But awarding contract for the largest and critical component of this project known as package -6 has yet to be done, triggering apprehension that RNPP may remain idle even after completion.

The RNPP Power Evacuation Project has been divided into several packages of which the biggest one is the Package-6 under which power-transmission lines will be built across rivers Padma and Jamuna.

The estimated cost of this part is 500 million US dollars.

Package -6 was included in the LoC-3 and India opted for domestic bidding to award the contract only to Indian firms.

But, officials said, the bidding process took a long time and finally the implementing agency, Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB), decided to scrap the Indian funding for this component.

When contacted, PGCB Managing Director Golam Kibria told the FE that the evaluation of the tender for the project is completed and now they are waiting for the government nod to the mode of the financing.

"The project authorities decided to scrap the Indian tender as the quotation was found too high," he said.

In the international tender called by Bangladesh, an Indian company emerged the lowest bidder, officials said.

The international tendering by Bangladesh authorities prompted the Indian side to exclude the Package-6 from the LoC (line of credit).

In a recent letter they said, "The Indian High Commission and the Bangladesh side had several correspondences regarding the specifications and cost estimates for package 6 and to the international tendering launched for this package by the project authority on 23 January 2022, even as formal approval of GoI for exclusion of this package from LoC was awaited.

"The High Commission has the further honour to convey the approval of the Government of India for the exclusion of this package from LOC coverage."

On the other hand, the Indian side made it clear that as per the LoC agreement the Indian contractors working on the remaining LoC packages of this project would not be liable for any delay in the overall final commissioning of the project, nor would they be liable for issues, if any, integrating/interconnecting the different transmission line stretches with the stretch being constructed under package 6.

"The scope of work comprising integration/interconnection of different transmission line stretches with the stretch for package 6 may kindly be explicitly added to the contract of the selected EPC contractor for the package 6," the letter reads.

The five transmission projects are: 464km 400kv Transmission Lines, including 13km river crossing, 205km 230kv Transmission Lines, including 7km river crossing, 400kv 5 Bay Extensions, 230kv 4 Bay Extensions, and qualitative upgradation of Bangladesh Power System for frequency control ,emergency control and related tasks.

The 13km river-crossing works also consist of packages called 6km Padma River crossing line and 7km Jamuna River crossing line.

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