Out of the eight coal-based power plants as was pledged by the government not a single one has so far seen the light of the day.
The government promised to set up a total of eight coal-fired power plants under their and private initiative.
Of them, the local private firm Orion group was supposed to build three 1,088MW coal-based power plants, another two 1450MW power plants under the government initiative while three more 7960MW plants as joint-venture.
On June 27, 2012, the government signed an agreement with the Orion Group to this end.
The government planned to install one of the plants at Mawa of Munshiganj with a capacity of 522MW while two others with the total capacity of 566MW in Khulna region.
There is already a 250MW government-run coal-based power plant at Barapukuria in Dinajpur. Coal for this power plant is supplied from Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Limited.
Adjacent to the Barapukuria Power Plant another 250MW plant of the Power Development Board was supposed to be set up.
Sites were also chosen for a 1200MW power plant of the state-owned Coal Power Generation Company Limited with a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) at Matarbari in Cox’s Bazar.
The government also initiated to set up a 1320MW coal-fired plants at Rampal with the National Thermal Power Corporation of India and another 1320MW plant in Chittagong in joint venture.
These power plants were expected to start production between March 2015 and 2017.
Under joint venture, Moheskhali in Cox-Bazar was selected for another coal-fired power plant with the capacity of generating 5320MW of electricity. The date was not finalised to start production of this plant.
“Power plant depending on imported coal is possible but it requires proper planning, something the government lacks,” Professor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology Ijaz Hossain said.
He stressed the need for monitoring the implementation of power plant as mere plans will not yield any results.
He said delayed planning, non-availability of finance and implementation complexities have caused the setback resulting in a major failure of the ruling alliance.
“We have managed our funds. We are now filing the earth for the project sites. After finishing this we will start construction,” Orion Group spokesman Chowdhury Khaled Masud said.
“Except for the PDB-initiated power plant, the rest will be run by imported coals. It may take more time to start coal-based power plants as it requires infrastructure to import coal,” Power Development Board Chairman Abdul Wahab Khan said.
He hoped the foundation will be laid within next few months although the construction of the power plants is yet to be started.
“We have been waiting for Jica’s $4.3bn soft loan for setting up a 1200MW coal-fired power plant in Cox’s Bazar,” said Abul Kasem, managing director of the Coal Power Generation Company of Bangladesh Limited.
A contract is hopefully to be signed in the next March, he said.
Stone laying for the foundation of the Rampal Power Plant will take place within two months,” hoped Power Division Secretary Manowar Islam.
“Earth filling of this plant is going on. Works at other plants are going on in full swing too,” he added saying that the government is working on the rest of the power plants.