State Minister Nasrul Hamid said the work would be done within the next four years
Overhead power lines and cobweb of cables, an eyesore in Dhaka and other major cities, are yet to be shifted underground despite assurances and promises by the authorities concerned.
Both Dhaka north and south mayors as well as State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid have been saying for long that cables would go underground but there seems to have been little progress.
Nasrul on Monday said the work would be done within the next four years, one year less than the time limit had spoken about in early February 2020.
"The work on underground cabling has already started and it is now in progress in Dhanmondi area of the city," he said while inaugurating the installation of 5kW vertical wind turbine - ONUVA - on the campus of Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP) in the city.
In February, Nasrul said the move was "not only for beautification but also for ensuring uninterrupted and secured power supply."
State-owned Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) and Australian firm Energy Tron R&D KIS Group signed a contract for a Tk25.3 crore job of taking overhead electric cables underground in Sylhet, Comilla, Chittagong, and Mymensingh.
Making Dhaka free of overhead cables
In January, parts of the Sylhet City Corporation became free of overhead cables after an underground electricity transmission system was introduced.
But things have not been so rosy in the overcrowded capital city where precariously dangling overhead cables – electricity, internet and dish TV lines – remain a common sight.
Although the city corporations operated drives to remove the cables, they are yet to see any success. The overhead cable reappeared within a few days after the mobile courts finished their drives.
Also Read - DSCC halts cable removal drive
After meeting leaders of Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB) and Cable Operators Association of Bangladesh (Coab) last month, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh said they reached a consensus over taking all overhead cables underground by November.
"We want to make Dhaka free of overhead cables," he said, adding that the city corporation would extend all necessary cooperation to ISPAB and Coab.
Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam, on the other hand, said the cables would be taken underground in phases.
In January, UNB ran a report on a committee formed by the Power Division identifying conflicts among the Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network (NTTN) and internet service providers (ISPs) as a major roadblock to the government's efforts to free the city of dangling cables.
Sources said the Power Division's move is part of the government plan to take underground all kinds of overhead cables within the next few years.
They said Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC) and Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (Desco), engaged in power distribution in the city, had undertaken a project to shift their overhead electric cables underground in Dhanmondi and Gulshan.
Green energy potential
State Minister Nasrul on Monday said transparency in power and energy sector would be strengthened through introducing modern technologies, including smart grid and smart metres.
He also noted that the government had been providing incentives to promote renewable energy across the country.
Nasrul mentioned that wind mapping was conducted between 2014 and 2017 at different places across the country.
"The wind speed was found to be 5.75 to 6.25 metres per second which could generate about 20,000MW wind power in the country," he said.
He said the DNCC has undertaken a 45MW waste to energy plant to produce electricity from garbage.
Another 6MW waste to energy plant will be set up in the Narayanganj City Corporation area. A proposal was sent to the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase for approval.
On the other hand, he said, different projects of a total capacity of 1,570MW were approved to set up solar power plants.
Vice Chancellor of BUP Maj Gen Ataul Hakim Sarwar Hasan also addressed the function on Monday.