INDIA SUPPLYING LESS POWER TO BANGLADESH -BREACH OF PACT
Bangladesh is not receiving the expected amount of power specified in a deal with the Indian authorities. The deal said the Indian authorities would provide Bangladesh with 500MW power on a daily basis but the amount being provided is much less. Even no power was supplied by India at all on April 24, the day Dhaka experienced the highest temperature in the last 54 years.
Even no power was supplied by India at all on April 24, the day Dhaka experienced the highest temperature in the last 54 years.
As temperature reached 42.3 degrees Celsius the following day, 365MW power was supplied during day peak hour (from 09:00am to 04:00pm) and 302MW during evening peak hour (05:00pm to 11:00pm).
The government decided to import 500MW power from India with a view to meeting the shortage. On October 5 last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived in the grid connection substation in Bheramara of Kushtia, talked to her Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh through a video conference and officially inaugurated import and export of power between the two countries.
Each unit of electricity, including conduction cost, costs nearly Tk 6 on an average which is almost equal to the price of power generated in Bangladesh. The money is not being given to the Indian authorities through L/C, Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) chairman Abduhu Ruhullah told thereport24.com.
According to the pact, India is supposed to supply 250MW power through government arrangements and another 250MW from private sector. Bangladesh was supposed to receive 170-175MW in the first phase and 500MW every day from December onwards. However, the specified amount of electricity was supplied only in a single day in the last seven months and no power was supplied in total of eight days from October last year to May 12 this year.
BPDB sources say although power import was inaugurated on October 5 last year, Indian authorities supply only 50MW during the day peak hour and 145MW during the evening peak hour. The situation continued till October 11 and from the next day, 147MW was supplied during the day peak hour and 148MW during the evening peak hour.
On November 24, 175MW was supplied during the day peak hour and 178MW during the evening peak hour.
Power import was completely stopped for six consecutive days from November 25 to 30. Power Grid Company claimed the six-day suspension was necessary to fix power conduction and distribution system with a view to importing 500MW from December 3 onwards. On December 1, 164MW was supplied during the day peak hour and another 164MW during the evening peak hour. On December 2, however, no power was supplied during the day peak hour and during the evening peak hour, the amount supplied was again 168MW.
India was supposed to supply the specified 500MW from December 3, though during both phases, 419MW was supplied. Surprisingly enough, more than 500MW was supplied the following day, with 507MW during the day peak hour and 506MW during the evening peak hour which was the highest in seven months.
Meanwhile, on April 24, the country’s total electricity demand was 7,300MW but only 6,776MW was generated, with a deficit of 524MW. However, no power was supplied by India on the day.
The next day, 6,690MW was generated against a demand of 7,300MW, putting the deficit at 710MW. On the day, India supplied 365MW during the day peak hour and 302MW during the evening peak hour.
Department of Meteorology sources say Dhaka experienced above 35 degrees Celsius throughout April, though in most of the areas, temperature varied between 37-42 degrees Celsius or above. Temperature stayed between 37-42.3 degrees Celsius from April 15 to 30 but during this hotter period, Bangladesh did not receive power according to the demand and supply was entirely stopped on April 15 and 24.
Data on BPDB website shows 289MW-462MW (during both day peak hours and evening peak hours) was supplied from April 1 to April 30.Former director-general of Power Cell BD Rahmatullah told thereport24.com there is a 25 percent power shortage against the total demand in India and it is experiencing frequent power cuts.
“So when the situation in your own country is so, how can you supply to another country? The fact is in the name of receiving power, we are being deceived by India. It has planned to receive power from Nepal and Bhutan in the future utilizing the power lines installed in the area of Bangladesh,” he observed.
Terming import of power from India a joke, BD Rahmatullah said, “Electricity generated in India is not of good quality. Besides, they will fix the price. How logical is that?”
Former adviser to caretaker government and a professor at BUET Dr M Tamim told thereport24.com Bangladesh would not be able to get power even if India supplied the specified 500MW.
“On an average, we could get 460MW-470MW because there will be a 30MW transmission loss. Apart from that, there is the factor of their ability. Why we are not getting the specified amount and what were the conditions in the deal should be reviewed,” he said.
Mentioning power loss, BPDB chairman Abduhu Ruhullah told thereport24.com the specified 500MW comes from India but due to losses for a wide variety of reasons, the whole amount cannot be added to the national grid.
The average is 470-475MW, he said.
On May 11, 448MW was supplied during the day peak hour and 350MW during the evening peak hour. The BPDB chairman said construction line was being fixed and lossless supply could be ensured once that ended.
Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Managing Director Masum Al Beruni refused to talk, saying he was busy and should be contacted two-three days later.
In January 2010, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Bangladesh and India with the aim of providing mutual assistance when Sheikh Hasina was on a visit to India. According to the agreement, power import was expected to begin by 2012 but the deadline could not be met because of difficulties in acquiring lands for building several towers in West Bengal.
According to power division statistics, there are now a total of 84 power stations, with 57 set up during the tenure of the ruling government, that collectively are capable of generating 9,713MW. The maximum capability reaches 10,213MW if the imported 500MW is added. However, the highest power, 7,356MW, was generated in the country on March 30.
(This report has been translated by Mahmudul Islam and edited by Md. Al-Amin for thereport24.com/English)
MAY 20, 2014