Originally posted in the Daily Star on 12 March, 2023
The overall cost for transmitting electricity from the Adani power plant in Godda, Jharkhand is set to increase further as two projects meant for that end are eyeing cost and time revisions.
In today’s meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council, one of the 12 proposals that would be placed for approval involves the revision of a project on setting up the transmission network for the electricity generated at the Adani power plant.
“If the project is implemented, the power imported from India (Adani) can be fed into the national grid through the northern region,” said the revised proposal from the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh, the implementing agency.
PGCB is now seeking an additional Tk 1,048.5 crore and another year for completion of the project called the Southwest Transmission Grid Expansion Project.
The revision is to accommodate route expansion and build new substations, according to the proposal.
Some transmission lines related to bringing in power from India have been added and some need to be reconducted such as the east-west interconnector along with transmission lines from Gaibandha’s Palashbari to Bagura’s Mahashangar and from Pabna’s Ishwardi to Natore, according to project officials.
Another 41 kilometres of transmission line will be set up in Bhola’s Charfassion, said Project Director Alamgir Hossain.
“The project has no connection to consuming the Adani power plant’s generated capacity. We have done 104km 400 kV transmission line from Chapainawabganj border to Bogura district, which is enough for transmit the whole capacity of Adani Power as per demand,” he told The Daily Star.
Transmission lines under this project can be used for power evacuation in southern regions including Payra power plant, according to the proposal.
“In addition, if the project is implemented, the capacity of the power transmission system in the southern and western regions of the country will increase and it will be possible to provide reliable and quality electricity to meet the increasing electricity demand of these areas,” it added.
If the revised proposal gets approved today, the project will cost Tk 4,322.3 crore and be complete in December 2024.
Similarly, the planning commission is sitting on the revision proposal for another project to make the best use of the power from the Adani plant. That project’s cost was already increased by 22 percent last year.
The project, named Barapukuria-Bogura-Kaliakoir 400 kV Transmission Line Project, is aimed at setting up high voltage transmission infrastructure for importing power from India, Nepal and Bhutan.
It was taken up in January 2019 at a cost of Tk 3,322 crore for completion by June 2022. Later, the cost was revised upwards by 22 percent and the deadline was extended to June 2024.
PGCB is now soliciting a second revision: a 153 percent hike in cost, which would take the project outlay to upwards of Tk 10,000 crore. The revision is yet to be approved by the planning commission.
Meanwhile, of the 12 proposals that would be placed in today’s meeting, six would be for revisions.
Two of the projects are seeking their fifth revision. One of them is the project to construct the third unit of the state-owned Essential Drugs Company’s manufacturing facility in Gopalganj.
Taken up in January 2011 at a cost of Tk 315 crore, the third unit was supposed to be completed by September 2013.
The project has gone through four revisions, with its cost increased to Tk 597.3 crore and the deadline extended to December 2022.
Now, it is seeking an extension in both cost and time.
If it gets the nod today, the project’s cost would swell to Tk 798.8 crore and the new deadline is December 2023.
In a similar vein, the project to construct the rail line to link the Mongla Sea Port with the country’s railway network is eyeing its fifth revision.
The project was taken up in December 2010 at a cost of Tk 1,721.4 crore for completion by December 2013. Over the decade, its cost was revised upwards to Tk 3,801.6 crore and the deadline was extended to December 2022.
Bangladesh Railway is now seeking until July 2024 to complete the project and another Tk 459.3 crore.
However, the planning division’s urban resilience project is seeking to get its cost revised downwards.
Taken up in July 2015 to improve the infrastructure of Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar at a cost of Tk 80 crore, the project failed to make much headway. Subsequently, its allocation was hacked down.
Now, it is aiming for completion by October this year at a cost of Tk 32.9 crore.