Land owners evicted without compensation

18 January 2019 | Sadiqur Rahman | Daily NewAge 

Land owners have been evicted from the site of 307MW Barisal Coal-Fired Power Plant in Barguna allegedly without compensations and many of them have reportedly been harassed and framed in false cases for demanding compensation. 

The victims submitted a petition to power, energy and mineral resources ministry on January 16 seeking remedies for their grievances. 

They also petitioned the Department of Environment on January 14 for stopping the project alleging that forest was being destroyed by the project. 

The victims alleged that ISO Tech Electrification Company Limited, local partner of the joint venture, evicted residents from the project site without compensations.  

China-based Power China is the 96 per cent shareholder of the $540 million project.  

The power plant on about 300 acres of land at Ankujan village of Taltali upazila is scheduled to be commissioned within 45 months since April 12, 2018. Bangladesh Power Development Board signed a power purchase agreement with ISO Tech amidst protests.  

Farmer Sultan Sikder and his close relatives owned eight acres of land on the project site.  

Sultan told New Age on Thursday that ISO Tech evicted them from their lands without compensation. 

He said local agent Sohrab Zamaddar working for ISO Tech had brokered land purchase between the company and the previous landowner Mombasin Rakhain. 

He added that the local agents brokered land purchase mostly based on forged land documents to cash higher commission from the company. 

Sultan said that land filling continued after eviction of about 180 families without compensation. 

Besides, the eviction victims were in hiding as project engineer Md Murad on July 17, 2018 filed an extortion case with Taltali police station naming six of the victims, including Sultan. 

According to the case document, Sultan along with five others tried to extort Tk 30 lakh from Murad. 

Sultan, however, denied the allegation saying that the ‘false’ case was filed only to harass them as they demanded compensation. 

The ISO Tech managing director Md Moinul Alam’s cell phone was found switched off. 

Power division secretary Ahmad Kaikaus, citing prime minister’s order, said that land for development project could not be acquired without proper compensation. 

He said that an enquiry committee would be formed soon to investigate the allegations. 

Barapukuria Coal Scam Probe: No report published, none punished

16 February 2019 | Sadiqur Rahman | Daily NewAge 

Neither any probe report was published nor anyone was punished for the disappearance of 1,44,644 tonne coal from Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Limited revealed in July 2018. 

Two government probe bodies formed to investigate the coal scam submitted their reports to the energy and mineral resources ministry while two other committees formed by the Anti-Corruption Commission and Consumer Association of Bangladesh were yet to complete the probe. 

Parbatipur police station officer-in-charge Mokhlesur Rahman said that they were not investigating the case field with the police station on July 24, 2018 for the coal disappearance as the investigation was assigned to the Anti-Corruption Commission. 

At a board meeting of the coal mining company on July 11, 2018, Power Develop Board representatives first unearthed mysterious shortage of 1,44,644 tonne coal worth about Tk 230 crore. 

A three-member primary inquiry committee headed by Petrobangla director mining Quamruzzaman was formed on July 22, 2018 as acute shortage of coal at the mine yard caused forced closure of the country’s lone thermal power plant at Barapukuria.  

The committee submitted a preliminary report to the power, energy and mineral resources ministry on July 25, 2018, blaming improper maintenance of inventory for disappearance of coal without naming anybody responsible. 

On July 29, 2018, the government formed another inquiry committee headed by a director general of the Prime Minister’s Office to reinvestigate the disappearance of Barapukuria coal in two months.  

A ministry official said that that the committee had already submitted the report. He, however, decline to detail it. The ministry was yet to make the two probe reports public. 

State minister for power, energy and mineral resources Nasrul Hamid refused to comment on the issue saying that it was still under investigation by several bodies.  

On July 23, 208, the Anti Corruption Commission formed a three-member probe committee headed by its deputy director Shamsul Alam to investigate the matter. 

A committee member said that they were still investigating the matter, including the criminal case filed with the Parbatipur police station. 

Consumers Association of Bangladesh also formed a six-member team in August 2018 to investigate the coal scam. The team visited the coal mine and the power plant, but was yet to publish any report. Its energy adviser Shamsul Alam said that they would submit the probe report to the government by March. 

Barapukuria Coal Mining Company manager (administration) Mohammad Anisur Rahman filed the case with Parbatipur model police station on July 24, 2018 accusing 19 company officials, including former managing director Habib Uddin Ahmed, of stealing the 1,44,644 tonne coal. Of the accused, Habib, general manager (mine operation) ATM Nuruzzaman Chowdhury, deputy general manager (store) Khalemul Islam were suspended in July 2018. 

Accused general managers Abul Quasem Prodhania and Abdul Mannan Patwari are now at Pashchimanchal Gas Company Limited while manager Masudur Rahman Hawlader is at Sundarban Gas Company Limited on deputation. 

According to the list of manpower of the company updated in January 2019 and posted on the company website, accused manager (finance and accounts) Gopal Chandra Saha was promoted to general manager, manager (mine planning and development) Zobayer Ali was given charge as deputy general manager while managers Mosharraf Hossain (exploration), Ashok Kumar Haldar (production management), Arifur Rahman (maintenance and operation), Jahidul Islam (design, construction and maintenance) and Syed Imam Hasan (security), deputy managers Ekramul Haque (safety management), Muhammad Khalilur Rahman (coal handling), Morsheduzzaman (maintenance and operation), Habibur Rahman (production management), Jahedur Rahman (mine development) and assistant manager Satyendranat Barman remained in the same positions.  

Company managing director Fazlur Rahman could not be reached as his two cellular phones were found switched off.  

The 20th board meeting of the company on December 6, 2018 resolved that the company had extracted 1,01,63,994.825 tonne coal from the mine between 2004-05 and 2017-18. 

The company sold 66,61,834.542 tonne coal to the Power Development Board to run the power plant and 33,19,281.302 tonne to private parties while used 12,052.215 tonne to run its boilers. 

Showing that the company had a stock of 26,182.371 tonne coal, the board meeting showed the disappeared 1,44,644 tonne coal as ‘system loss’. 

Consumers Association of Bangladesh energy adviser Shamsul Alam slammed the resolution, saying that such assessment should not have been done while several inquiry teams were investigating the matter. 

Power China signs MOU for Bangladesh's watershed management project

12 December 2018 | Power China 
Representatives of Power China and the Bangladesh Water Resources Development Management Committee sign a MOU in Bangladesh on Sept 28, 2016. [Photo/Power China]

Power China signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Bangladesh Water Resources Development Management Committee on Bangladesh's national watershed comprehensive management project in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, on Sept 28, 2016. 

Wang Bin, vice-general manager of Power China, signed the agreement on behalf of the company. 

This will be yet another major project carried out by Power China in Bangladesh, following the Ganges River Dam project. 

Anisul Islam Muhammad, Minister of Bangladesh's Ministry of Water Resources, said that the Ministry was very satisfied with POWERCHINA's work on the Ganges River Dam project and hoped that Power China could work on more major projects for the Ministry. 

Wang said that Bangladesh is an important country in both the Belt and Road Initiative and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor. Power China is completely confident in the development of the Bangladeshi market and economy, and will take full advantage of its strengths to aid in water conservancy and energy construction in Bangladesh and increase investment in the country. 

Officials attend the signing ceremony of the MOU in Bangladesh on Sept 28, 2016. [Photo/Power China]

The Ganges-Padma water system, Brahmaputra-Jamuna water system and Zulma-Megna water system are three of Bangladesh's major river systems. Comprehensive treatment projects include strengthening dykes, clearing and removing obstacles, dredging rivers, improving river flooding capacity, enhancing water transport and land transport capacity, and expanding land use area, all of which could greatly improve quality of life in Bangladesh and spur local urbanization. 

The signing of the MOU serves as an important foundation for POWERCHINA's involvement in future water conservancy projects in Bangladesh. 

Power China starts watercourse renovation of Padma Bridge

12 December 2018 | Power China 

Work on the land revetment of the bridge project. [Photo/Power China]
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Padma Bridge watercourse renovation project in Bangladesh on Dec 12. 

In her speech, Hasina congratulated POWERCHINA on winning the bid and expressed her satisfaction with the achievements of the project. 

She said that the watercourse renovation project was completely funded by the Bangladeshi government, which demonstrates to the world that Bangladesh is capable of independently financing any large-scale project. 

She hoped that the Bangladeshi people and Chinese builders would come together to build a "Golden Bangladesh". 

A representative of POWERCHINA stated in his speech that the company would try to use the project as a "business card" for POWERCHINA in the Bangladeshi market by turning it into a "Dream Bridge" for the Bangladeshi people and ensuring that it would benefit the Bangladeshi people. 

Laying work of the geotechnical cloth is carried out by workers. [Photo/Power China]
The project is expected to cost around US$1.113 billion, making it the most expensive river improvement project ever. Construction will take place on the upper and lower reaches of the main part of Padma Bridge and on both sides of the Padma River, so as to protect the bank and bridge from erosion. 

The project will mainly consist of river dredging and river bank protection. Nearly 1 billion cubic meters will be dredged and the riverbank protection section is 13 kilometers long. The construction period is four years. 

As an important country along the Maritime Silk Road, Bangladesh has enjoyed strong economic development in recent years, with an average annual GDP growth rate of more than 6 percent and a large surplus in its power supply. 

Since entering the Bangladeshi market, POWERCHINA has undertaken several significant national projects, including building Bangladesh's largest coal-fired power station and South Asia's largest sewage treatment plant, as well as undertaking the country's first port dredging project. 

POWERCHINA has become an significant force in energy infrastructure construction in Bangladesh. 

Power China undertakes watercourse renovation project in Bangladesh

12 December 2018 | Power China 

Lyu Liushan (L), senior official of PowerChina and director of Bangladesh Bridge Authority sign the agreement on the watercourse renovation. [Photo/Power Chna]
In 2014, Sinohydro Harbour Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Power China, defeated many professional dredging companies from the US, Japan, South Korea and Europe, winning the bid for the world's largest watercourse renovation project: Padma Bridge in Bangladesh. 

The winning bid for the project was about $1.113 billion, or 6.85 billion yuan. 

The project mainly consists of river dredging and river bank protection. The dredging capacity of the project is nearly 100 million cubic meters and the river bank protection section is 13 kilometers long. The construction period is four years. 

Constracts are shown after signing. [Photo/Power China]

POWERCHINA consolidated and reorganized its member companies' ports and dredging businesses in 2007, and established Sinohydro Harbour to meet the strategic needs of port waterway development and industrial restructuring. 

The company mainly deals with port waterways, dredging and filling, water conservancy and hydropower, and operates related infrastructure such as municipal, highway, river and lake remediation and basic treatment. 

In recent years, the company has also won several major sewage interception ecological projects. 

Power China Engineering Camp in Bangladesh wins Award

14 December 2018 | Power China 

A top-down view of the main camp of the Bangladesh Watercourse Renovation Project Department [Photo/Power China]

Recently, the Bangladesh Watercourse Renovation Project Department of Sinohydro Harbour Co Ltd, a subsidiary of POWERCHINA, won the award for "Excellent Chinese Overseas Engineering Camp". 

The "Chinese Overseas Project Camp Show" was organized by the China International Contractors Association. 

The event showcased the excellent management and care put into Sinohydro Harbour's overseas projects, and helped create a positive image of POWERCHINA in the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. 

A total of 78 overseas camps from 55 companies participated in the competition. The evaluation included camp planning and design, humaneness, functional systems, power distribution and outdoor lighting systems, garbage sorting systems, CI image and camp features. 

The selection was made based on detailed evaluations and a scoring system. The most outstanding camps were selected. 

Since its establishment, the Bangladesh Watercourse Renovation Project Department has attached great importance to its camp conditions and made every effort to maintain a comfortable camp environment and improve the living conditions of employees. 

A number of cultural and sports facilities have been introduced to spruce up the working and living environment. The camps are now full of birds and flowers, making them more livable and inviting. 

The award not only demonstrates the fine management and of the project department, but is also the result of Sinohydro Harbour's cultivation of overseas engineering markets and the painstaking efforts it has put into improving its brand image. 

The award is bound to further inspire the company's domestic and foreign project departments to emphasize strong management and image building, and promote the growth of POWERCHINA. 

Power China signs up for Bangladesh bridge project

06 February 2017 | Power China 
The signing ceremony for the Hidaraya River Bridge 3 held in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh.

The signing ceremony for the Hidaraya River Bridge 3 was held in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, at 11 am local time on Feb 8. 

The ceremony was witnessed by officials from the ministries of planning and railways of Bangladesh, the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia Development Fund (SDF), POWERCHINA International Group Limited, and Sinohydro Bureau 15 Co, Ltd. 

POWERCHINA Group acquired the project's letter of acceptance on Jan 12 with its hydropower brand. The proprietor of the project is the National Highway Authority subordinate to Bangladesh Road Traffic and Bridge Department. The capital came from Bangladesh government and Saudi Arabia Development Fund. The duration of the project is 36 months and will see the construction of a main bridge, viaduct, riverbank, ramp, toll station buildings and auto-toll system. 

Bangladesh is an important country on the Belt and Road Initiative and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor. The agreement lays a solid foundation for further cooperation between POWERCHINA and Bangladesh, reflecting the state government's acceptance towards a China-invested enterprise and Chinese construction techniques, and promoting friendly cooperation between the two countries.