A project to generate electricity from waste has been stuck for the last four years because of disagreements between the local government and the Power Division.
Discussions and meetings were held on the matter in 2014 and 2015 but they did not yield any result.
The Local Government Division signed an agreement with Italian company Management Environment Finance srl in 2013 to produce 48MW daily from the waste in Dhaka city. There were plans to increase the generation to 100MW gradually.
However, the project was shelved after the company declared itself bankrupt.
There was a proposal to form a company, West Power Generation Company, for producing electricity from waste but it too was scrapped. Also, land was to be acquired in Aminbazar and Matuail dumping grounds to set up the power plant.
The city corporation was given the management task. The Power Division held a meeting with mayors of Dhaka and Chittagong city corporations. Although the mayors initially agreed, they later wrote to the Power Division to inform about the city corporations’ own initiatives to generate power.
Last week, the Local Government Ministry held a meeting with all the city corporations in this regard, where only Narayanganj City Corporation agreed to provide waste for producing electricity.
The other city corporations want to produce electricity from waste themselves and sell it to the power grid.
It has been learned after the meeting that the city corporations received offers from several countries, including Japan, Korea, and China to produce electricity from waste. Discussions with these countries are currently underway.
A Power Division official said that city corporations wanted to build their own power plants.
“That’s why a power plant is being constructed under the Power Development Board in Keraniganj. Since we have got approval from Narayanganj Mayor Ivy Rahman, another plant will be constructed there,” the official added.
It is estimated that the two Dhaka city corporations produce about 5,000 tons of waste every day. During Eid-Ul-Azha, over 5,000 tons of extra waste is produced and dumped in Aminbazar and Matuail.
Stakeholders say it is possible to produce at least 50MW from this waste.
The Power Division has taken up a pilot project to set up a 1MW waste-based power plant in Keraniganj, which is scheduled to be completed within 18 months.
Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sayeed Khokon could not be reached for comments for this article.
A city corporation official, who declined to be identified, said that discussions were going on about a Tk724 crore waste-based power generation project.
“Land acquisition has already started for the project which is scheduled to be completed within 2020,” the official added.
Former Dhaka North City Corporation mayor Annisul Huq, too, had planned to produce power from waste. He visited two waste-based power plants in China and Thailand in April this year.
Narayanganj Mayor Ivy said that the incumbent government had taken various initiatives to generate electricity from renewable sources.
“It is important to keep the city clean. It will be possible if the waste is sent for power production. That’s why we have agreed to provide it,” she said.
Energy expert BD Rahmat Ullah hailed the initiative.
“Such initiative is very important for keeping the city clean. We will get electricity even if the price will be a bit high but it will help the city remain clean,” he said.
Rahmat continued: “The government should take a decision quickly in this regard. It is necessary to identify the reasons why the project could not be implemented despite repeated meetings.
“Dhaka is a modern city now. Waste does not suit it.”
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune