Monday, January 21, 2019 | ePaper

1320 MW coal-fired power plant

Move to sign fresh MoU with Malaysia

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Kazi Zahidul Hasan :
Bangladesh will sign a fresh Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia to set up the proposed 1320 MW coal-fired power plant in Moheshkhali, Chattogram.
The decision came from an inter-ministerial meeting held at the Power Division in Bangladesh Secretariat in Dhaka recently.
"We took the decision following expiry of the initial MoU to set up the plant," a senior Power Division official told The New Nation on Tuesday, seeking anonymity.
He said, time to implement the deal ran out as both sides failed to translate it into reality.
Bangladesh and Malaysia signed the MoU in September 22, 2014 to set up the power project on G-to-G basis.
In this context, a joint steering committee led by State Minister Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid Bipu was formed to monitor and coordinate the project.
"The MoU remained valid until September 21, 2016 and in the meantime it is expired," said the Power Division official.
Earlier, a meeting of the joint steering committee made the decision to extend the tenure of the MoU for three years without naming the implementing entity and thereby the Malaysian government sent a draft in this regard.
 "The inter-ministerial body thoroughly discussed the matter at the meeting. But opined not to extent the tenure of the MoU further raising legal issues," said the Power Division official, adding, "As the deal has lost validity, the meeting unanimously voted for signing a fresh deal with Malaysia to set up the power project. We have started the process to sign the MoU." Officials said the government took the proposed project as per its ambition to make Moheshkhali a power hub.
"But the project failed to become like many others due to lack of proper persuasion by the concerned officials, bureaucratic bottleneck and lack of coordination among the concerned departments. The project has only got environmental clearance. Initiative to acquire lands, formation of a JV Company and appointment of consultants are yet to be done," an official said.
"The government rolls out plan to build dozens of large coal based power plants to generate 20,000 megawatt electricity. Out of them, only two are actually making physical progress. These are the Rampal and the Matarbari power projects, " observed energy expert Prof Dr Shamsul Alam.
He said the present government has made significant progress in the power sector virtually eliminating the phenomenon of load shedding. But no progress is in sight to build mega power plants due to inefficiency of the concerned officials.
Nasrul Hamid Bipu could not be reached for comments despite several attempts on his cell phone.   

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