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Dhaka to Make Fresh Review of Gas Pipeline Project

Imran Rahman
From Arab News, Bangladesh
February 5, 2005
link to this article.

The future of the tri-nation gas pipeline project is set to come under fresh scrutiny by the government of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia following the sudden postponement of the 13th SAARC summit after India expressed her inability to attend the meet scheduled to be held in Dhaka on Feb. 6-7.

"The government is observing the ongoing situation", a senior official said in Dhaka yesterday.

It was learnt that according to the directives of the high-ups in the administration, Bangladesh is unlikely to take part in the tripartite gas supply project study on the proposed route of the pipeline, along with charges and management involving India and Myanmar, which was due to be held on Feb. 14, 2005.

However, a six-member tripartite working committee was to start a study on the 14th of the current month on the proposed gas pipeline from Myanmar to India through Bangladesh to pave the way for signing a trilateral agreement in April.

According to the previous plan, the first meeting will begin in Myanmar, which has already selected its two officials, Energy Planning Department Director General, U. Soe Myint, and the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise Managing Director, U. San Luin, for the committee and sent Dhaka their names.

Bangladesh's Energy Ministry has selected Petrobangla Planning Director Muktadir Ali, and the Gas Transmission Company Limited Managing Director Manzur Morshed Talukder, for the committee.

Earlier, the energy ministry sent the names of the two officials to the Prime Minister's office last week for the PM's approval for their representation in the committee. New Delhi is yet to send Dhaka the names of its two representatives, sources said. Once the Prime Minister approves the two names from Bangladesh and Delhi sends its two names, the committee was to start its work, they said.

Following the much-talked-about two-day tripartite energy ministers meeting between India, Myanmar and Bangladesh which was held in Yangon on Jan. 12-13, Dhaka set preconditions that included allowing Dhaka to bring hydroelectricity from Nepal and Bhutan, providing the two Himalayan countries with trade transit facilities across India, and reducing trade gap between Bangladesh and India.


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