ACC to probe Barapukuria coal ‘corruption’, 1 month to be needed for smooth power supply

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Dhaka, July 23: The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has formed a committee to look into allegations of coal-related corruption at the power plant in Dinajpur’s Barapukuria.ACC Deputy Director Shamsul Alam will lead the committee and will be joined by Assistant Director ASM Sajjad Hossain and Deputy Assistant Director ASM Tajul Islam.

ACC Director Kazi Shafiqul Alam has been appointed to supervise the probe, said the commission’s spokesman Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya.

“The committee has been told to complete the investigation and submit a report within 15 workdays.”

The administration is currently taking action against five officials associated with the Barapukuria coalmine after coal began to ‘disappear’ from the yard.

Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Managing Director Habib Uddin Ahmed and others have been accused of selling 116,000 tonnes of coal for approximately Tk 2 billion through fraud, abusing their power and other illegal and corrupt means.

The coal-fired Barapukuria thermal power plant stopped generating power on Sunday due to a shortage of fuel.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resource Nasrul Hamid on Monday said that steps have been taken to bring northern region, especially Rangpur, under smooth power supply within one month.

“We have enough electricity. Power is being supplied from Sirajganj to Rangpur. Due to the unexpected incident, the northern region of Bangladesh may experience low voltage problems,” he told reporters at his ministry office.

The State Minister came up with the remarks after disappearing of 142,000 tonnes of coal from Barapukuria coal mine, which forced to shut down the only coal-based Barapukuria power plant yesterday night.

“We request our consumers to keep patience for a month as necessary steps have been taken. We are sorry. People of northern area, particularly Rangpur, would face temporary crisis of power,” he said.

Replying to a query, Nasrul said the Prime Minister has already directed the authorities concerned to probe into the entire incident of the Barapukuria coal mine as the incident was being occurred from the very beginning of 2005.

“The investigation will find all the people involved in the incident. The Prime Minister urges all to keep patience for a short time,” he said.

Replying to another question, he said the state-run Petrobangla (Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation) failed to perform its due role in monitoring Barapukuria coal mine and its stock.

Nasrul said directive has been given to Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Ltd (BCMCL) for filing a case against the people involved in the incident.

He said an investigation report was submitted to the ministry in this regard.