Major DPDC power project faces execution delays

Dhaka,  Thu,  20 July 2017
Published : 08 Jul 2017, 22:38:00
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Major DPDC power project faces execution delays

ECNEC suggests inclusion of two more components
FHM Humayan Kabir

Absence of proper design and feasibility study has virtually stalled execution of the country's largest Tk 205.02 billion power distribution project, officials said Saturday.

The Chinese government will fund the project.

The state-owned Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC) is yet to start the work on the project as it finds it impossible to execute the gigantic project for strengthening and expanding distribution network in line with suggestion coming from the ECNEC, they said.

Finding serious loopholes in the project proposal, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina-led Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) in December last year asked the DPDC to include two more provisions in the design of the project, said a Planning Commission (PC) official.

"But the DPDC recently informed us that it will be difficult for it to implement the project if it follows the ECNEC's suggestion. So, it recently sought permission not to follow the suggestion before starting the electricity distribution project," the official told the FE requesting anonymity.

Actually, the project was taken in a hurry without proper feasibility study resulting in the emergence of the latest stalemate, he added.

"If we follow the ECNEC's conditions, it will be very difficult to implement the project. In addition, the earmarked Tk 205.02 billion will not be enough to complete it within the stipulated time, December 2021," a DPDC official, involved with the project, said.

The ECNEC in December last year endorsed the Tk 205.02 billion 'Distribution system expansion and strengthening project under the DPDC area' on condition of changing the project design partially.

Under the scheme, the power distributor in Dhaka is supposed to expand and upgrade its distribution networks installing the existing over-head cables underground and strengthening its capacity for uninterrupted electricity supply to the consumers.

The ECNEC asked for inclusion of two provisions in the project design including installation of all the existing over-head sub-stations underground, and ensuring a multipurpose underground distribution channels so that the city's cable operators could also use it.

Another senior PC official said they will place the waiver proposal of the DPDC before the next ECNEC meeting for its decision again on the project.

Meanwhile, the Power Division put pressure on the PC last year seeking approval of the power distribution project of the DPDC, the PC official said.

"Within a span of two months, we are forced to endorse the project without proper scrutiny. The project proposal was submitted to us without proper feasibility study," a senior official said.

Cost estimation of some components of the projects was found high and the design also seemed faulty, he added without quoting his name. "Besides, the DPDC, without seeking concessional external funds, went for borrowing costly Chinese loan for the project," the official added.

The Chinese government has already confirmed Tk 138.44 billion out of total Tk 205.02 billion of the DPDC's project.

kabirhumayan10@gmail.com
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