Payra plant workers back at work

A peaceful working environment is now prevailing at the Payra 1320MW coal power plant in Patuakhali. All local and Chinese employees and workers have started work, said a power division official. A Chinese national was killed and six others were injured in sporadic clashes at China-Bangladesh 1320MW thermal power plant project site at Payra in Patuakhali, early Wednesday.

The clash ensued following the death of a Bangladeshi worker inside the project area on Tuesday. Following state minister for power and energy, Nasrul Hamid's visit to the project area and meeting project officials, representatives of both Bangladeshi and Chinese workers and district administration, the situation became normal and workers returned to work.

Nasrul Hamid said, it was a ‘misunderstanding’ between Bangladeshi and Chinese workers following the death of a Bangladeshi worker, and the situation is now normal. Power Division said, initial investigations found that the worker Sabindra Das, 32 died Tuesday, due to his own negligence. He was working inside the project as a plumber with all safety equipment during work hours.

However, he did not set up the safety belts properly, as a result he suddenly fell from an under-construction installation about 70 feet high during work and died instantly. ‘The incident took place following a rumour that a local employee was killed by Chinese men. As Bangladesh workers were shocked by the death of Sabindra, they saw a Chinese supervisor take the identity card from the body and tear it.

Following the incident, Bangladeshi and Chinese workers chased each other, as a result 10 Bangladeshi and 6 Chinese workers were injured, according to a power division official. The workers damaged property, including their office, canteen and training centre inside the project site. Over 2,700 Chinese workers and engineers are currently working at the project while about 40 private companies outsourced 4,500 Bangladeshi workers and 3,000 other workers were employed from the neighbourhood.

The power plant’s first unit would start generation in December 2019 and the second unit in June 2020. On Sunday, Bangladesh-China Power Company signed a deal with an Indonesian firm at a Dhaka hotel to import coal from Indonesia for the 1,320MW Payra power plant. In March 2016, Bangladesh signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract with the consortium of two Chinese firms for the installation of the power plant.