Pradhan flags off Indian diesel exports to Bangladesh via rail
India on Thursday began exporting diesel via rail to Bangladesh with the rollout of first consignment from Siliguri. A goodwill rail rake consignment carrying diesel from Siliguri marketing terminal of Numaligarh Refineries Ltd (NRL) was flagged off on Thursday, an official statement said here. "The goodwill rail rake consignment for supply of 2200 tons (2700 kilolitre) diesel of BS III (of Euro-III) Grade with 350 PPM sulphur content" will travel by rail from Siliguri to Parbatipur storage depot of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) in Bangladesh.
From Siliguri, the 42 wagons (each with a capacity of 64 kl) rail consignment will travel over 516 km (253 km in India and 263 km in Bangladesh) on the existing railway line via Rangapani, Singabad, Rohanpur to reach Parbatipur on March 19.
"The present consignment is a symbolic gesture of friendship and cooperation that exists between India and Bangladesh," the statement said. During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh in June last year, NRL and BPC signed a Sale-Purchase Agreement for construction of a pipeline from Siliguri to Parbatipur for supply of diesel to Bangladesh.
It was agreed to jointly work towards implementation of this 'Indo-Bangla Friendship Pipeline', a 135 km pipeline project (5 km in India and 130 km in Bangladesh) with a capacity to carry 1 million tons per annum from Siliguri terminal to Parbatipur depot of BPC.
Diesel would be moved through rail till the pipeline is constructed. "The export of petroleum products from India to Bangladesh is also in line with the 'Neighbourhood First Policy' of Government of India to boost bilateral trade between the two countries and sub-regional cooperation with in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc)," the statement said.
Currently, Bangladesh meets its requirement of petroleum products through imports at Chittagong port. The products are subsequently transported to the rest of the country using river route.
Once the NRL refinery expansion from present 3 to 9 million tons per annum is complete, India will be in a position to export petroleum products on a regular and long term basis to Bangladesh.
"Prior to the construction of the pipeline, the rail rake mode of transportation of product from Siliguri to Parbatipur is also an effective mode of transport with minimum loss and pollution," the statement added.