from Calcutta to Ashuganj--- vessels sail for Tripura's Palatana power project

Bangla port aids project

- Waterway advances plant’s commissioning by 8 months


Guwahati, Feb. 22: Two vessels carrying heavy equipment sailed from Calcutta to Ashuganj port in Bangladesh today, making history and fast-forwarding the commissioning of the 726.6MW gas-based Palatana power plant in Tripura.

This is the first time that movement of heavy equipment has taken place through Ashuganj after it was declared a port of call last year.

“Two barges have sailed today,” R.K. Madan, senior adviser (business development, ONGC) and director, ONGC Tripura Power Company Ltd, told The Telegraph over phone from Calcutta. The vessels were supposed to sail a couple of days ago but were held up because of some incomplete formalities.

Transporting the equipment through Bangladesh will enable ONGC Tripura Power Company Ltd, which is executing the project, to advance the project’s commissioning deadline by around seven to eight months. Otherwise the company would have had to transport the equipment by land through a long, arduous route, traversing the Karimganj and Manu-Ambassa mountainous tracts and several rivers.

A source said it would take the vessels seven to eight days to reach Ashuganj through the waterway. From there, the equipment would be taken by road to Akhaura (in Bangla-desh on the border with Tripura) and then to Palatana.

A source said while the waterway made the task easier, the journey from Ashuganj to Palatana would take time as the roads were narrow and the vehicles could move only at night. The 48km stretch from Ashuganj to Akhaura is particularly narrow and the vehicles carrying the heavy load cannot travel more than 6-7km per hour. The distance from Akhaura to Palatana is 65km.

The vehicles will carry 96 equipment, weighing 11 tonne to 285 tonne, from Ashuganj. These heavy equipment are known as “over dimensional” consignments because of their large size and heavy weight. These equipment include heavy machinery, plant generator, turbines, furnace, chimney, and boilers.

Bangladesh had signed a memorandum of understanding with ONGC Tripura Power Company, a unit of ONGC, in December last year to tranship the over-dimensional consignments through Ashuganj.

The ONGC Tripura Power Company has been promoted by ONGC, Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd and the Tripura government for implementing the Palatana power project, which will supply electricity to power-deficit areas of the Northeast. The project is estimated to cost more than Rs 8,000 crore and likely to be commission by 2012.


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