The only coal-fired power plant in the country, Barapukuria Coal Power plant, has been shut down for the ‘disappearance’ of 1.5 lakh tones coal.
There was a shortage of electricity supply in the northern region due to the closure of the 525MW power plant at 10pm on Sunday.
Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) said the production of gas and oil-based power plants has been increased to normalise the situation. Petrobangla has promised to increase the gas supply to the northern power plant. Offical sources said the power plant consists of three units. One unit of the power plant has already been closed. A unit of 125 megawatt production capacity was shutdown a few days ago due to the coal crisis. The only ongoing 275MW power unit requires 3,000 tonnes of coal per day. But the mine authorities have supplied 600-700 tonnes in the last few days as the stock has run out.
According to sources, Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Limited has been supplying coal to this power plant. Coal production has remained stopped since June 16 for reasons of a transfer of machinery. Coal lifting will start in late August. During this time, the mine authority assured BPDB that there is a reserve of coal for Baropukuria thermal power plant to be operational. On June 20, the mine authorities confirmed that coal reserves stood at 1.80 lakh tonnes in the coal yard. But a few days ago, the mine authority informed BPDB that coal yard reserves were in the last stages. Coal supplies will not be possible for many days.
The workers have blamed the mine authorities for the disappearance of coal. They alleged that there was a coal crisis due to the selling out of coal. Barapukuria coal power plant is the main customer of the coal mine. They buy 11,000 taka per tons of coal. On the other hand the price of the local brick field is tk 17,000 per ton. An official of BPDB said that mining officials are more interested to selling coal to brick field due to high prices. Because they get more bonus for the divident. A three-member inquiry committee has been formed to investigate the coal incident. Petrobangla director (Mine Operations) Md. Kamruzzaman is the convener of the the committee.

Nazmul Likhon