Bangladesh official for quick decision on Tata proposal
Apr 16, 2007 - 6:54:52 PM

Dhaka, April 16 - Bangladesh's responses to the $3 billion investment proposal from the Indian corporate house of Tatas continues to be negative, but a time frame of three to six months has been fixed for decision-making.

Power and Energy Adviser Tapan Chowdhury Sunday said the Tata group should not be given special facilities in its proposed investment in Bangladesh.

However, he said, the government should make its position clear on the proposals 'within next three to six months'.

'We should clearly say 'yes' or 'no' about Tata - this should not be kept hanging for indefinite time,' he was quoted as saying by United News of Bangladesh - news agency.

The proposal was 'not entirely positive' and the government did not agree with several aspects of the proposal, Chowdhury was quoted as saying in New Age newspaper.

The file was before Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed.

If any special facilities are given to Tata, the adviser said, 'other international investors will deserve the similar facilities and the government will need to maintain that for the sake of a level-playing field for all.'

Chowdhury was 'very conservative' on the issue of natural gas supply to the Tata group under a long-time security package and lower gas price, The Daily Star said.

He said the government should not accept any proposal securing a long-term gas supply for 12 years since the country's gas reserves are limited.

The adviser appreciated the immediate-past BNP-led government's secretary committee's report on the Tata investment proposal, terming it 'very practical and realistic'.

'We can start negotiation on the basis of that report and recommendation,' he said.

The proposal, made in 2003 after Tata conglomerate's chairman Ratan Tata visited Dhaka, has been hanging fire for three years now.

The Khaleda Zia government withheld decision on it saying the proposal was 'politically sensitive' and left it to the government that would take office after the general elections.

However, the Jan 11 elections were called off.

The Fakhruddin Ahmed regime has decided on some pending proposals, including a power project awarded to Indian state-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited -.

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