TIB senior research fellow Mahfuzul Haque and research fellow Newazul Moula addressed the event and shed light on various aspects of the study outcome while TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman delivered a welcome speech.
The TIB carried out the study on 350MW coal-fired power plant in Barishal, 1,320MW power plant in Chattogram’s Banshkhali, and 600MW coal-fired plant in Cox’s Bazar’s Matarbari.
It was actually a qualitative research, extending from February 2021 to April 2022. The TIB collected information from government offices, locals, public representatives, and some other sources.
Scrutinizing the information, it was found that corruption took place in all the three projects.
According to the research, a staggering amount of Tk 2.55 billion was embezzled in land acquisition and compensation process of the Banshkhali plant. It is the highest amount to be misappropriated among the three projects.
A total of Tk 1.19 billion was pocketed in the land purchase process of Matarbari LNG power plant. Besides, Tk 150 million was misappropriated in the land purchase process of Barishal coal-fired plant, says TIB.
The study found that the authorities fixed higher price for the electricity generation in the coal-fired plants, comparing to many other countries. The per unit price of electricity generated in coal-fired power plants in India, China, Pakistan and Australia ranges from Tk 3.5 to Tk 5.15.
But the price in Barishal coal-fired power plant was fixed at Tk 6.61 per unit, which is Tk 1.46 to Tk 3.15 higher than other countries. The price was fixed at Tk 6.77 per unit at Banshkhali power plant, up by Tk 3.31 from other countries.
Also, a large quantity of land was acquired for power plants in Bangladesh, comparing to other countries. The Barishal plant required 81 acres of land, but the authorities purchased 310 acres.
Some 660 acres of land were acquired for the Banshkhali plant, against the requirement of 304 acres. Besides, the authorities purchased 1,358 acres of land for the Matarbari plant while the requirement was 418 acres.
The electricity price was fixed without any fuel supply agreement, estimating the coal price at $120 per ton. The TIB thinks that it has posed a risk of increased corruption.
Besides, the authorities started working on the power plants without any environmental impact assessment (EIA), what the TIB described as irregularities.
TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman said the government does not pay much attention to renewable energy, rather it is held hostage by the coal-fired power plants.
Citing the constitutional obligation over preserving environment, he said the issue is not being maintained properly.
The TIB boss alleged that the influential quarter was given benefit in the power generation process.
Some independent power producers (IPP) did not generation any electricity in the last 10 years, but the government unfairly paid them Tk 431.70 billion due to lack of legal mechanism to take action against them.
According to TIB, a total of 41 million tonnes of carbon were emitted from the energy sector in 2008 and the amount rose by 118 per cent to 89 million tonnes in 2019.
They think it would pose a challenge to implementation of the intended nationally determined contribution (INDC).