Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday ordered bringing to book as quickly as possible the people responsible for the disappearance of 1,48,000 tonnes of coal from a Barapukuria coal mine field in Dinajpur.
At a special meeting, chaired by her, at the secretariat, she vented her anger over the matter, state minister for energy and power Nasrul Hamid told reporters after the meeting.
The meeting was attended, among others, by secretaries of energy and power divisions and chairmen of Petrobangla and Power Development Board.
Nasrul Hamid said Petrobangla was told to file a case in connection with the disappearance of coal.
On Sunday, a three-member inquiry committee was formed after an acute shortage of coal forced closure of the country’s lone thermal power plant at Barapukuria and caused severe power disruption in the whole northern region.
The committee, headed by Petrobangla director of mining Quamruzzaman, is expected to submit the inquiry report today.
But the PM asked the officials for reinvestigating the coal scam to find out those behind the coal scam, said Nasrul.
The state-minister said power disruption faced by the northern region because of suspension of power generation at the Barapukuria thermal power plant would be resolved within a few days.
He also said additional power would be generated in Sirajganj and other adjoining districts to increase supply to the northern region.
Meanwhile, Anti-Corruption Commission’s probes kicked off on Monday, a day after the Barapukuria Coal Fired Power Plant was shut down for an indefinite period due to mysterious disappearance of coal from a yard.
A power division statement said ‘sorry’ for the consequent power supply disruption to the districts under the Rangpur division.
The power division called it a ‘temporary closure’ of the Barapukuria Power Plant.
The power division sought cooperation of all and hoped the crisis would be resolved soon.
The ACC instituted a three-member probe led deputy director M Samsul Alam, ACC public relations officer Pranab Kumar Bhatacharjee told reporters.
He said that Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Ltd managing director Habib Uddin Ahmed and some other officials were removed immediately on receipt of complaints that they had allegedly pocketed Tk 200 crore by selling 1.16 lakh
tonnes of coal from the BCMCL yard.
On Thursday night, Petrobangla removed Habib Uddin and the coal mine secretary Abul Kashem Prodhaniya and suspended general manager for mine operation Nuruzzaman Chowdhury and deputy general manager of store AKM Khademul Islam.
On the same day, Petrobangla, which runs the BCMCL, formed a three-member probe body led by its director (operation) Kamruzzaman to investigate into the mysterious disappearance of coal from the yard of the power plant, the biggest buyer of coal from the Barapukuria Coal Mine.
Barapukuria Coal Fired Power Plant buys coal at the price of Tk 11,000 per tonne but brickkiln owners buy coal at Tk 17,000 per tonne.
The sudden disappearance of coal came to the notice of a team of Power Development Board officials during its visit to the power plant.
The BDB officials found only 6,000 tonnes of coal in the stocks at the yard which could meet the needs for barely two or three days.
According to the PDB, the power plant requires about 4,500 tonnes of coal per day when all the three units are in operation.
Beside New Age correspondent in Dinajpur reported that a five-member ACC team led by
deputy director Benozir Ahmed visited the Barapukuria Coal Fired Power Plant on Monday and collected production statements and a departmental probe report on the issue.
The departmental probe identified inconsistencies about the coal stocked at the power plant yard including the shortage to the tune of 1,48,000 tonnes of coal, said Benozir.
He said that he had already reported to the ACC head office that he suspicion was that gross irregularities were committed at the power plant.