ACC inspection discovers that the actual amount of coal meant for the power plant that have disappeared is 144,000 metric tons
The coal-fired Barapukuria thermal power plant in Dinajpur may resume power generation and supply by late August, according to officials at the plant and Bangladesh Power Development Power Development Board (BPDB).
The power plant’s chief engineer Abdul Hakim Sarkar on Monday said they are targeting late August as the plant is expected to receive a fresh supply of the required coal by then.
BPDB Director Saiful Hasan Chowdhury echoed his hope, saying power generation and supply from the plant might resume in a month.
State Minister for Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid Bipu also made a similar statement while talking to reporters on Monday.
The power plant has three units, and two of them, with a capacity of 125MW each, are already out of operation. The third, which is also the biggest unit with a power generation capacity of 275MW, was shut down on Sunday night.
The plant was shut down around 10:20pm on Sunday owing to an acute shortage of coal as around 142,000 metric tons of coal meant for the power plant had disappeared.
Officials at the BPDB, which operates the plant, said they had to completely shut it down because the nearby Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Ltd (BCMCL) could not provide the required amount of coal.
Also Read- Barapukuria power plant shut down
Recently, allegations surfaced that coal worth around Tk227 crore was illegally sold from the Barapukuria coal mine.
Later, Bangladesh Oil, Gas, and Mineral Corporation (Petrobangla) withdrew BCMCL Managing Director Engineer Md Habib Uddin and transferred BCMCL Secretary (GS Administration) Md Abul Quashem Pradhania to Pashchimanchal Gas Distribution Company Ltd.
BCMCL Mining Department General Manager ATS Nuruzzaman Chowdhury and Deputy General Manager Md Khademul were also suspended.
Later, Petrobangla Director (Planning) Md Ayub Khan Chowdhury was appointed as the acting BCMCL managing director.
State Minister Nasrul Hamid on Sunday also said that a committee has been formed to probe the allegations and would submit its findings within seven working days.
An Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) team, led by ACC Deputy Director Benazir Ahmed, also visited the Barapukuria Coal Mine on Monday.
The team during its inspection discovered that a total of 144,000 metric tons of coal meant for the power plant had disappeared.
The power plant requires around 4,000 metric tons of coal daily, to be supplied from Barapukuria Coal Mine, for optimal operation. However, the mine has a slew of problems, which exacerbated the crisis.
After the unexpected shutdown of the plant, the country's northern region – covering Rangpur, Panchagarh, Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Dinajpur, and Thakurgaon – faces the risk of unusual power cuts or low voltage problems.