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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Barapukuria coal disappearance: Corrupt officials must be punished

THE authorities concerned have not made public the probe report on disappearance of 1,44,644 tonne coal worth Taka 230 crore from Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Limited last year. Newspapers reported that two government probe bodies formed to investigate the coal scam submitted their reports to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry while two other committees formed by the Anti-Corruption Commission and Consumer Association of Bangladesh were yet to complete the probe. Officer-in-Charge of Parbatipur Police Station said that they were not investigating the case as the investigation was assigned to the ACC. So, it is easily understandable that none was punished for the big crime.
The representatives of Power Development Board at first unearthed the mysterious shortage of coal. The acute shortage of coal at the mine yard caused forced closure of the country's lone thermal power plant at Barapukuria for months. A committee, however, had submitted a preliminary report to the Ministry concerned on July 25, 2018, blaming improper maintenance of inventory for disappearance of coal. But it didn't name anybody responsible.
The government on July 29, 2018 formed another inquiry committee headed by a Director General of the Prime Minister's Office to reinvestigate the coal disappearance. It was learnt that the committee had already submitted the report but it was not made public. What's highly disappointing to us is that, the accused officials have been posted to different companies on deputation.
We see, most of the enquiry reports on large-scale corruption under different ministries do not see the daylight. It becomes a tradition nowadays. Here, the incidents of cyber heist in Bangladesh Bank and looting of thousands of crore taka from share market could be cited as the bright examples. The then Finance Minister openly said big fishes were involved in the crimes. We must say, those who are swallowing public money from the country's banks and other development projects should be brought to book.
The state is the owner of the country's mineral resources and Ministry concerned is its caretaker. No government officials, individual or group, have the right to enjoy the liberty to misappropriate the public wealth. If anyone does so, he must be punished. The government should not bow down to the corrupt officials.