A move is underway to enlist chartered energy auditors for large industries and commercial structures rated to be designated consumers (DS) under a certain rule by early next year.
According to official sources, Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda) will enlist the auditors to empower them to conduct audits in the DS category industries and commercial structures.
“Now under a process, some 175 candidates are going to sit for exams to emerge as energy auditors. Those who will pass the examinations will be eligible for being enlisted as professional chartered energy auditors like chartered accountants,” Sreda Member (energy efficiency and conservation) and Additional Secretary of Power Division Siddique Zobair told UNB.
He said the government promulgated Energy Audit Regulations 2018 in August 2 last year under the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda) Act, 2018 to conduct mandatory energy audit for large energy consumers.
“At present, there’re more than 1,000 such DS category consumers. But we’ve selected 100 of them for energy audit initially,” he noted.
Sreda sources said the organisation has moved to appoint the energy auditors through a process defined in the energy efficiency regulations as part of its initiative to enhance energy efficiency of industries and large consumers.
Under the move, they said, a standard curriculum has already been formulated while applications sought from eligible candidates who want to take up energy auditing as a profession.
Responding to the move, 175 candidates have already applied to obtain certificates from Sreda as ‘Chartered Energy Auditors’.
“Hope, the whole process of enlistment, including the examination, will be held within two or three months,” said a Sreda official dealing with the matter.
Once they got the certificates, individually or as a firm, the auditors will approach to DS category consumers to conduct the energy audit in their ventures.
On completion of the audit, Sreda officials said, they will submit their reports to both the audited consumers and Sreda with recommendations for taking measures to improve energy efficiency in their organisations.
They said the auditors will also mention in their reports what kind of benefits the consumers will get if they take measures as per recommendations and also what kind of investment they will require to implement the recommendations.
Siddique Zobair said Sreda will initially try to encourage the DS consumers to do energy audits for the sake of their betterment as the ultimate goal of energy efficiency is to reduce production cost.
In this case, he said, Sreda will also arrange very low-cost fund from banks for the DS category consumers to implement the recommendations.
“If the move is found to be benefiting the consumers, they’ll take interest to conduct energy audit to their industries or commercial ventures like shopping malls, hospitals or large office complex and bring energy efficiency,” he said.
According to him, energy efficiency will bring maximum benefit for the export-oriented industries as this will add footprint to their products.
The prices of onion jumped up to Tk 25 per kg in the capital’s wholesale markets on Sunday on supply crunch of the bulb, traders said.
Onions being flown in from Pakistan, China, Egypt and Myanmar are too scant to meet the local demand, they said. But the government is optimistic that the common kitchen item’s price will cool down soon as onions are being imported on large scales.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Sunday said 12,000 tonnes of imported onion will reach Chattogram Port on Nov 29 and will be available in the market within next 10 days.
Each kg will cost Tk32 to reach the port and will be sold at Tk60, he said, adding that the local variety will also be available in market within this time.
Bangladesh’s annual demand for onion is 2.4-2.5 million tonnes and one-fourth of it has to be imported, the minister said, adding that 90 percent of the amount comes from India.
An export ban by India on September 29 triggered a supply shortage that sent onion prices in local markets through the roof.
Ridoy, a wholesaler at Karwan Bazar, said the local variety was being sold at Tk 200-220 per kg while onion from Myanmar cost Tk 180-190, Egyptian variety Tk120-125 and Chinese Tk 105-125 on Sunday.
Only a day ago, these varieties cost Tk 190-195, Tk 170-175, Tk 110-125 and Tk 105-110 respectively.
“The prices might rise further if the supply shortage persists,” said Shamsur Rahman, a trader at Shyambazar. “Today we sold local variety at Tk 200, Burmese at Tk 180-190, Egyptian at Tk 150 and Chinese at Tk 120 per kg.”
State-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh said the local variety of the bulb was selling at Tk 190-200 per kg while the imported ones cost Tk 130-190 in Dhaka’s retail market on Sunday.
But the UNB correspondent found local onions being sold at Tk 230-250 per kg and imported ones at Tk 150-200 in the kitchen market.
Mohammad Hafiz, an onion importer, said they did not have enough in stocks and those imported by the government are yet to reach the markets.
“We hope the problem will be resolved within the next week when onions hit the market in large quantities,” he said.
The lone ambulance of the 50-bed Upazila Health Complex of Goalanda remained out of service for the last 14 days due to the transfer of its driver as well as a technical problem, depriving patients of its emergency service.
Resident Medical Officer (RMO) of the hospital Dr Taposh Mondal said the ambulance remained inoperative since November 10 after its driver Nasir Uddin was transferred to Baliakandi.
Besides, the ambulance developed a technical glitch as one of its bearings broke down, he said, citing the driver.
The RMO said the new driver replaced Nasir seven days later but he joined work on Thursday.
Dr Asif Mahmud, health and family welfare officer, said they have no budget to fix the problem of the ambulance. “It might take another week to fix the problem,” he said.
Meanwhile, patients who need to be shifted to other hospitals from the health complex for better treatment were suffering following the suspension of the ambulance service.
Many were seen using hired vehicles to shift patients to hospitals in Faridpur, Rajbari and Dhaka.
Private firm official Mosharraf Mridha, 28, of Nabuochhimoddinpara in the upazila was admitted to the health complex on November 14 with diarrhoea. As his condition deteriorated in the evening on the day, he was referred to Faridpur Medical College Hospital.
As the ambulance service remained suspended, his relatives got nervous about how to shift him. Although they managed a hired microbus, there was no oxygen facility in it which Mosharraf was badly in need of.
They asked for an oxygen cylinder from the hospital authorities but they refused which led to an altercation with its nurses.
However, they forcibly took an oxygen cylinder.
Mosharraf’s brother Shahin Mridha said, “My brother was about to die. The ambulance of the hospital is out of order. Where will the common people go if the lone ambulance of hospital remains out of service?”
He said the unexpected incident took place as the hospital authorities refused to give oxygen cylinder although they managed a microbus on their own.
Despite its huge import, the price of onion saw a further rise by Tk 15-20 both at the wholesale and retail markets in the capital on Saturday with traders blaming it on a high demand and low supply.
According to state-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), local variety of the bulb was selling at Tk 180-200 per kg while the imported one at Tk 120-180 at retail market in the capital on Saturday.
However, the actual scenario at the kitchen market was completely different as local onion was selling at Tk 240-250 a kg while the imported one at Tk 150-200 per kg.
Although several consignments of onion were brought in by air, these were meant for selling through the TCB. Besides, local variety is yet to arrival at the market in large quantities, creating a supply crunch.
Meanwhile, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Saturday said the onion price will come down within 10 days once the imported onions hit the market. “Imported onions are yet to be supplied to the market because of transportation problem,” he said while talking to reporters after a programme in the city.
He said some 12,000 tonnes of imported onions are expected to arrive at the Chittagong port on November 29.
The minister said Bangladesh has to import 25 percent onion to meet the local with the Indian variety accounting for 90 percent of the total import. “But unfortunately, India banned the onion export to Bangladesh on September 29 that caused the problem.”
Traders said the onion price increased further on Saturday due to a rise in demand and supply shortage as the imported onions are yet to enter the city’s kitchen markets.
Mohammad Hafiz, an onion importer at Shyambazar, said the onion price soared by Tk 5-10 due to the supply crunch. “We’re selling locally grown onion at Tk 170-180 while the Burmese one at Tk 150-160, Egyptian one at Tk 110-115 and Chinese variety at Tk 90-100 per kg,” he said, adding that they were selling Pakistani onion for Tk 160 counting a loss by Tk 10 per kg.
He also said there is no possibility of a fall in the price anytime soon until imported onions are available in large quantities.
Echoing Hafiz, Shamsur Rahman, a stockist at the same market, said the onion price might see further hike if onions are not available in the market.
Hridoy, a wholesaler at Karwanbbazar, said the onion price increased by Tk 15-20 per kg on Saturday.
He said he was selling local onion at Tk 190-195 per kg while the Burmese on at Tk 170-180, Egyptian one at Tk 110-115 and Chinese one at Tk 105-110.
Another wholesaler Moin Mia Elahi said he was selling local onion at Tk 190 per kg.
Rafique Mia, a retailer at Nazira Bazar of Bangshal, said he was selling local onion at Tk 240-250.
Asked about the exorbitant price compared to the wholesale market, he said he bought onions at a high price. “Unless my stock is finished, I’ll have to sell onion at the same rate.”
Bangladesh has been struggling to control overheated onion price which reached an all-time high in recent days after India imposed an indefinite export ban on September 29.
President for boycotting onion
President Abdul Hamid urged people to avoid using onion if its price is not within their purchasing capacity. “Onion is a perishable product. If we don’t eat onion for a month, the dishonest businessmen will be forced to sell it at a lower price," he said while delivering his speech at the 13th Convocation of Brac University held at the city's Army Stadium.
"The price of onion per kg was Tk 50 but it shot up to Tk 240 to 250 per kg within a span of two months. But people are still buying onion at the high price,” he said, adding that people should face the situation together and only people can stand against it.
One month from the rollout of Jobike, Bangladesh’s first bicycle sharing app for the Dhaka University (DU) campus, the service is garnering positive response and admiration from students.
On October 7, the bicycle rental company started its journey on the campus with 100 bicycles that has now been increased to 130 under the name DU Chakkar. Dhaka University Central Students' Union (Ducsu) first took the initiative to launch the two wheeler service and contacted Mehedi Reza, founder and Chief Executive of Jobike.
Now it has 5,200 registered users on the campus and around 1,00,000 users across the country. The number is increasing gradually thanks to their affordability and good service.
The fare for these bicycles is Tk 2.5 for first 5 minutes then Tk 0.4 for each additional minute. Although the users said they were satisfied with the service, they demanded increasing the number of bikes.
Gazi Hirok, a third-year student of Bijoy Ekattor Hall, said the fare is cheaper than rickshaws. “On Jobike, the distance you can cover for Tk 5-10 will cost about Tk 30 on rickshaws. It’s really amazing,” he said.
He said the number of bikes should be increased as sometimes they are not available because of their high demand.
Jobike Chief Executive Mehedi Reza told UNB that they “got an extraordinary response from DU users” which prompted them to decide to increase the number of bikes to over 500 by December.
They also plan to increase the number of touch points in front of student dormitories, academic and administrative buildings where Jobike’s representatives will also assist interested users.
Jobike mobile application enables users to share bicycles for rent. After downloading the app, users will have to sign up and can then scan a quick response (QR) code on the bicycle to unlock it for use.
Shams E Noman, students’ transport affairs secretary of Ducsu, elected from Bangladesh Chhatra League panel, said it was in their election manifesto to initiate Jobike operations on the campus for easy movement of students.
“Before launching this service, students had to pay more for rickshaw rides. Jobike is eco-friendly and good for health,” he said.
Jobike started its journey in Bangladesh from the tourist hub of Cox’s Bazar in January last year. Apart from DU, the service is currently available at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology and the Mirpur DOHS area of Dhaka.