August 14, 2008

Bangladesh Tells Energy Ministry to Revise Draft Coal Policy

Excerpt from unattributed report headlined "Chittagong to get emergency gas, rental power plant; advisers' council sends back coal policy to ministry" by Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star website on 14 August

The Council of Advisers at its meeting here yesterday decided to provide 20 mcf (million cubic feet) additional gas and set up a 50- MW rental power plant for immediate and short-term solutions to the acute gas and power crises prevailing in Chittagong.

Chaired by Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed, the meeting also discussed the draft National Coal Policy and asked the energy ministry to place the draft policy again after scrutiny.

Held at Chittagong Circuit House, the meeting decided to set up a separate gas distribution centre titled "Karnaphuli Gas Systems Limited (KGSL)" to ensure smooth distribution of gas in Chittagong.

To resolve seat crisis in the educational institutions, the meeting decided to increase additional 19,000 seats through infrastructure development of six private schools and setting up of two new model school and colleges here at a cost of 71 crore taka [one crore equals 10m, one US dollar equals about 69 taka].

"Different local issues like acute gas and power crises and waterlogging prevailing in the port city featured in the meeting where we have tried to give some immediate and short-term solutions to the problems," said Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed at a press briefing after the meeting.

"Additional gas will be supplied to the industrial units that could not go into operation for want of gas," he said.

"As a short-term solution to power crisis, we have decided to set up a furnace oil-run rental power plant," he said, adding, "Though we know it will be a bit expensive, we have to look for an alternative way of producing power as an instant solution."

Regarding the proposal for setting up coastal township in Chittagong by the world leading steel manufacturer, Mittal Group, the chief adviser said the government is actively considering the proposal.

"Talks with Board of Investment (BoI) and others concerned are going on," he said, adding, "Since it's a huge project all the details need to be discussed thoroughly."

Briefing the reporters, Commerce and Education adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman said 20 mcf additional gas will be provided for Chittagong through two separate supply lines from Bangura and Bakharabad gas fields.

Of the 20 mcf gas, 10 mcf will be supplied to the already installed industrial units that could not go into operation while the rest will be required for producing 40MW electricity at the existing plants.

Besides setting up of the 50MW rental power plant under short- term solution, initiative was there to ensure smooth and equitable distribution of power through demand management, said the commerce adviser.

He said a 95-crore-taka project for infrastructure and drainage system and a 22-crore-taka project on garbage management are awaiting ECNEC [Executive Committee of the National Economic Council] approval.

[Passage omitted]

Originally published by The Daily Star website, Dhaka, in English 14 Aug 08.

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