Technical works put on hold due to absence of Indian experts, say officials
With land borders closed and air-travel halted with India, Rampal power plant project authorities are having a hard time to continue the work without the experts from India.
The Maitree Super Thermal Power Project was supposed to be completed by December 2020, which was extended by a year.
As of June 30, its progress was reported at 68%.
The 1,320-megawatt plant in Bagerhat’s Rampal, which is near the Sundarbans, is being implemented by Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Ltd (BIFPCL).
India’s Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has been awarded the contract for the Tk160-billion project.
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The construction of the coal-fired power plant involves some 7,000 people, including 2,200 Indian citizens.
Rampal power plant authorities say they have already written to the governments of India and Bangladesh to allow the arrival of Indian experts under special arrangements.
Air-travel with India remains suspended since April 14 due to a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths in the neighbouring country caused by the highly infectious Delta variant.
Later on April 26, Bangladesh sealed its borders with India, but trade continues.
“We have sought clearance for 199 experts from India, but its yet to be approved, Deputy Project Director Md Rezaul Karim told Dhaka Tribune.
According to him, several “technical works” are now on hold.
On Tuesday, power secretaries of the two countries discussed the Rampal power plant at a virtual meeting.
The meeting comes after the 8th high-level monitoring committee meeting held on June 17, during which certain critical issues were identified that required to be addressed for the timely commissioning of Unit -1 in December next.
Bangladesh was assured in the meeting that BHEL and BIFPCL are confident to meet the deadline of the project with the support of the Bangladesh government in the matters like, visa and entry of highly-skilled manpower, customs-related issues, advance income tax site and Covid-19 vaccination of the workforce.
Following the meeting, Power Secretary Md Habibur Rahman said that the Indian experts will be allowed to enter Bangladesh after July 15 “as per discussions with the foreign ministry.”
“But they will have to be in quarantine for two weeks and must have vaccination certificates,” he said.