Dhaka, Mar 10 (UNB) – Speakers at a seminar Sunday organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue urged government to take the steps necessary towards ensuring transparency in the tendering and tariff-setting processes in the energy sector, the absence of which may even drive away investment in this vital sector.
They also suggested a long-term integrated power and energy sector master plan to help the country’s industries grow with a stable energy tariff and introducing more modern technology to improve energy efficiency.
The private sector in particular will not feel encouraged to invest in a situation where power and energy prices are felt to be unstable, and arrived at through opaque processes, they observed.
“There should be transparency in any bidding process....The biggest problem is over-costing and overpricing of infrastructure project,” said CPD Chairman Dr Rehman Sobhan, while presiding over the seminar titled: “Dialogue on Power and Energy Sector: Immediate Challenges and Issues,” at a restaurant in the city.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid spoke at the seminar as chief guest and along with the other speakers, including eminent energy experts Brac University’s pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Dr M Tamim, Prof Dr. Badrul Imam of Dhaka University and Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Advisor Prof Dr M Shamsul Alam, Norwegian Ambassador in Bangladesh Sidsel Bleken, Australian High Commissioner Julia Niblett, additional secretary of Power Division Siddique Zobair and Wartsila Bangladesh’s managing director Jillur Rahim made up a high-level panel.
CPD director (research) Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem made a keynote presentation on the topic while Prof Mustafizur Rahman, now a distinguished fellow at the leading think-tank, conducted the function.
Defending the government’s different steps for bringing transparency in the power and energy sector, State Minister Nasrul Hamid claimed the system loss in power sector has come down to 11 percent from 44 percent in 2006.
He said digital technologies are being introduced to bring transparency in the sector.
“Sometimes the government becomes confused by the conflicting views from different experts in the power and energy sector,” he added.
Referring to the Power System Master Plan, he said the government has been maintaining an energy-mix with combination of use of different fuels like liquid fuel, gas, imported LNG, coal, renewable, nuclear and hydro.
“This is a part of the strategy as global energy technology is fast changing. New technologies are coming with newer options,” he said.
Nasrul Hamid said developing skilled and efficient manpower for energy and power sector has been the biggest challenge for the country.
He said the country needs $71.5 billion to generate 60,000 MW by 2040.
“But financing and technology are not a big problem for Bangladesh. Many globally-reputed companies from USA, China, Germany, India, Canada, Saudi Arabia are coming to Bangladesh to invest in energy and power sector,” he mentioned.
He said providing uninterrupted electricity at affordable cost is the government’s main priority now for the sector.
“But this is not a very easy task. A country like South Korea required 30 years to ensure uninterrupted power supply,” he observed.
Prof M Tamim of BUET, an expert on energy-related matters, said the government has been frequently shifting its policy and strategy about primary source of energy supply which cannot facilitate a stable power tariff.
“But the country needs a long-term master plan for power and energy sector to ensure a stable power tariff for the industrial sector,” he said, adding otherwise entrepreneurs will not feel safe to invest.
Prof Badrul Imam said neighbouring India and Myanmar are desperately engaging foreign and local companies to explore for hydrocarbons in their offshore areas while Bangladesh has explored the least in its maritime area.
“Most of the potentially hydrocarbon-rich areas both offshore and onshore remain unexplored,” added Prof Imam, one of the country’s foremost geologists.
Prof Shamsul Alam raised serious concerns about the government’s move for raising gas price, using the public hearing as a rubber stamp.
He alleged that BERC as a regulatory body has lost all credibility of actually serving the cause of transparency and public service through their public hearings.
Yet the regulator is going to hold another public hearing bypassing a pending case in the High Court over the gas price which is totally illegal, Prof Alam said.
He also mentioned that the gas companies have appealed to raise the gas price showing a Tk 31,000 crore deficit in their business.
Wartsila Bangladesh managing director Jillur Rahim said supply of gas to the economic zones and industries at a pressure of 150 psi (pounds per square inch) will enable near-optimum use of highly efficient modern technology for power generation.
Moulvibazar, Mar 10 (UNB) – A young man was killed in an elephant attack at Gandharbopur village in Srimangal upazila on Saturday night.
The deceased was identified as Manilal Debnath Mani, 27, son of Manju Debnath of the village.
The elephant lift Manilal with its trunk and throw him hard while he was trying to ride on the pachyderm around 11pm, leaving him severely injured.
Later, he was rushed to Srimangal Sadar Hospital where the doctors declared him dead.
Dhaka, Mar 10 (UNB) - Newly appointed Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das on Sunday reaffirmed her country’s stance to remain with Bangladesh over Rohingya issue.
“We’re with you over Rohingya issue…this is a huge burden for Bangladesh,” she was quoted as saying when she met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her Sangsad Bhaban office.
PM’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
Ihsanul Karim said the Indian High Commissioner mentioned that the international community recognised the humanitarian gesture of the Prime Minister as she gave shelter to more than one million Myanmar Rohingya nationals in Bangladesh.
Riva said both countries have the scope to open new windows for cooperation.
The Indian envoy termed Bangladesh one of the important countries and development partners of her country.
Referring to the activation of the Bangladesh-India Joint Commission, she said, “You can count on our support.”
Riva said the cooperation between the two neighbouring countries will continue on a win-win situation.
Talking about enhancing connectivity in the region, Riva said this will bring economic prosperity for all the countries of the region.
She conveyed good wishes of the India President and the Prime Minister to Sheikh Hasina.
The Indian High Commissioner said she was posted in Bangladesh earlier and now she is amazed to witness the massive development and changes of the country. “You’ve achieved unparalleled success on women empowerment.”
Welcoming Riva Ganguly Das to Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said she was glad to receive her and assured cooperation of her government for discharging her duties in the country.
Hasina said the Indian government and its people are always supportive to Bangladesh as what they did in 1971.
She mentioned about the support from all political parties in India while settling the issue of land boundary with Bangladesh.
“All the parties cutting across their differences lent their support on the issue like they did in 1971, and this will remain as an example,” she said.
In reply, the newly appointed Indian High Commissioner said this can be a model of relationship.
Sheikh Hasina again clearly said any insurgent group will not be allowed to use the soil of Bangladesh against its neighbouring countries.
She said the main aim of the government is to develop the country.
Principal Secretary M Nojibur Rahman was present during the meeting.
Dhaka, Mar 10 (UNB) - Prime Minister’s Political Advisor HT Imam on Sunday said that Bangladesh has achieved the capability of combat all disasters and natural calamities.
He also lauded the government’s effort in collecting and deploying modern tools to fight disasters of any category.
The advisor made the remarks at a discussion marking National Disaster Preparedness Day arranged by Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief at Officers’ Club Auditorium.
HT Imam, in his speech as the chief guest, said Bangladesh is in great risk of catastrophic damage from medium to large scale earthquakes due to unplanned urbanization.
“The government is buying and collecting modern instruments for fighting disasters bearing that in mind,” he added.
He also credited Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for his pioneering step of establishing Cyclone Preparedness Program to reduce the risks of loss of live in the natural disaster.
HT Imam said that despite having no responsibility for global warming, of Bangladeshi people have to suffer for the impact of the climate change. But, the responsible countries like US, China and Europe are not taking the responsibilities.
“Dhaka and nearby Madhupur of Tangail is now at the risk of earthquake due its geographic position. Unplanned urbanization is also one of the reasons for the disaster risks. Once such an earthquake or disaster hits in this area, it may cause of damage of hundreds of lives,” he added.
State Minister for Disaster management and Relief Dr Enamur Rahman mentioned that current government is capable of fighting any sorts of disasters.
“Despite being a disaster-prone nation, Bangladesh has become a role model in disaster management by increasing legal, organisational and institutional capabilities,” he added.
Ministry’s Senior Secretary Md. Shah Kamal chaired the programme while State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr. Enamur Rahman, Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Disaster Management and Relief Ministry AB Tajul Islam, Bangladesh Redcrescent Society Chairman Hafiz Ahmed Majumder, Ministry’s Additional Secretary Md. Mohsin, Department of Disaster Management Director General Abu Syed Md. Hashim and Fire Services Department’s Director General Ali Ahmed Khan spoke the occasion.
Jashore, Mar 10 (UNB) – Police here on Sunday seized eight sharp weapons including a dagger, four machetes from a room of Shahid Mashiur Rahman Hall of Jashore University of Science and Technology (JUST).
The room was allocated on the name of two activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League- Isme Azam Shubho and Antar Dey Shubho, who were expelled from the university few months back, said Ansar Uddin, Additional Superintendent of Police.
Dr Engineer Md Amzad Hossain, provost of the hall, also confirmed the matter.
The room was sealed-off for several months and was opened on Sunday noon after being instructed by the vice chancellor, he said.
Meanwhile, in another incident, the university authorities expelled eight students from Shahid Mashiur Rahman hall on charge of drug addiction earlier on Saturday.