Power Crises in Bangladesh

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The country is currently facing 1500 MW of power shortage causing serious dislocation in all spheres of life including production in fields and factories. Projects including rental power After failing to implement the 3 years' rental power projects in time, the ministry faced in difficulties to implement all its mid-term projects including Shiddhirganj-150, Sylhet-150, Khulna-150, Shikalbaha-150, the Asian Development bank funded Sirajgonj-150 and Khulna-150, World Bank funded Shiddhirganj and JBIC funded Haripur 360 MW power plants as per schedule, power division sources said. The Power Development Board (PDB) is facing serious problem to complete the tender processes for the installation of two public sector power plants as the latest tenders need to be scrapped for three other independent power plants because of demands of bidders.

As a result, the power projects - 210MW plant in Khulna, 150MW plant in Sylhet and three 330MW-450MW independent power plants, already seven to eight years behind schedule, will be getting further delayed. In the latest setback, the PDB will not get the power from the ADB funded 150 MW Shiddhirganj peaking power plant as turbine will not reach Dhaka as per schedule, competent source told The Independent. The turbine carrier met with an accident on way to Dhaka last week and due to this the turbine will not work. So it needs time to make a fresh turbine for the plant. In another blow to the power board, the cabinet committee on economic affairs early last month did not approve the faulty tender process for the 150MW Sylhet power plant, and the power board will need to scrap the tender as a result. Sources in the Power Division said the power board would be asked by the next week to re-tender for the power plant, which was initiated in 2000 and already tendered for four times, to be set up out of government fund. In the latest setback, the Power Development Board did not receive any bid for the 210MW plant in Khulna by the March deadline after the lone Chinese bidder had backed out after a year of tender process for the installation on suppliers' credit.

It is learnt that the caretaker government has taken up short-term, mid-term and long-term plans to add additional volume of electricity to the grid. According to the plans, the government has managed to add an additional quantum of 400MW electricity to the national grid from the existing power plants, which falls under the short-term category.

According to Power Ministry sources, in order to increase generation it has taken up a 15 years' rental power plant project aimed at adding 260 MW. Later it has decided to install more rental power plants for generating around 300 MW of electricity on an urgent basis, which is of three-year duration. Under the mid-term plan, the ministry said it could add 200MW from 10 small independent power plants to the national grid. The Power Ministry estimated that the government could add at least 1,000 MW of additional power to the national grid by 2008. "Now there is no hope as the fate of four high cost rental projects including Kumargong-50, Sahjibazar-50, Fenchuganj-50 and Bogra-20 is hanging in balance as the contractor is an accused in Barapukuria coal mine scam. It is assumed that contractor Moazzem Hossain will not complete the task as per schedule", an official said. Some bidders including the 50 MW Fenchuganj plant and the 35 MW Bhola plant have not yet opened L/Cs to procure plants from abroad although almost half of the scheduled time has been elapsed. Some are engaged in development work in site areas. "We are trying to do something and it will take time … we have a punishment clause, and if necessary we will enforce it," Fouzul Kabir Khan, Secretary, Power Division, said. But punishment will not bring electricity to people, he admitted. Preferring anonymity, a top official in the power sector said, "Only Shikalbaha project is all right but unfortunately we cannot...
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