The Barapukuria thermal power plant is facing an acute shortage of coal—which could lead to eventual shutdown of the plant in Dinajpur.
Of the total three, only one unit is presently producing electricity, one has been shut down for an overhaul, and the other remains out of operation due to lack of coal.
The power plant requires around 4,000 metric tons of coal daily, to be supplied by the Barapukuria Coal Mine, for optimal operation. However, the mine has a slew of problems, which exacerbated the crisis.
Chief Engineer of Barapukuria Thermal Power Plant Abdul Hakim told , The plant will shut down in a few days due to the coal shortage. Coal production at the mine is presently halted, aggravating the crisis.
There are allegations that 142,000 metric tons of coal, which was supposed to be reserved for the Barapukuria thermal power plant, worth around Tk227 crore, was illegally sold.
Barapukuria coal mine Managing Director Engineer Md Habib Uddin Ahmed and Secretary (GS Administration) have been withdrawn by Petrobangla—because of the irregularities that triggered the coal shortage.
Mining Department General Manager ATS Nuruzzaman Chowdhury and Deputy General Manager Md Khademul have been temporarily suspended over the debacle.
Md Ayub Khan Chowdhury, director (Planning) of Petrobangla has been appointed as the acting managing director of the Barapukuria Coal Mine.
The order was passed by the Petrobangla General Manager (Administration) Md Mazedur Rahman on July 19, and was supported by Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, said sources.
The correspondent has also learned that the coal mine ended production on June 15.
Officials concerned, on condition of anonymity, told the Dhaka Tribune that mining operations have concluded at face 1210, and it could take three months to restart mining operations at face 1314.
Due to the severe coal shortage at the Barapukuria Power Plant, the only active unit could shut down within weeks, said insiders.
When contacted on Sunday afternoon, the Office of Energy and Mineral Resources division secretary declined to comment, saying that Secretary Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem was busy.
They suggested that Dhaka Tribune contact Petrobangla, instead of the state-run oil and gas corporation, to enquire about the issue.