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Experts for prompt decision on coal extraction PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 24 March 2008

Energy experts Saturday suggested that the government take prompt decision to utilize coal, found abundant in deposit in the country, as an alternative fuel for power generation as gas reserves are getting depleted fast, reports UNB.

Otherwise, they forewarned, the country would be faced with a severe crisis in power generation within a very short time when gas will be in short supply.

"The existing gas reserves will start exhausting if we fail to make any new discovery in the future," said Dr Eunuse Akan of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission at a roundtable. Sheba Bangladesh Foundation organised the discussion at the Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB) conference room in the city on Friday.

BUET Prof Dr. Izaz Hossain presided over the function while Prof Abdur Rahim moderated. Dhaka University Geology Department Chairman Prof Kamrul Hasan also spoke at the function.

Chief Advisor''s Special Assistant for Power and Energy Ministry Dr Tamim, who was chief guest at the function, said the caretaker government would take policy decision on coal extraction after the national coal policy is in place. Few months back, a technical expert committee submitted a draft coal policy to the government for final approval.

Dr Tamim said the government would form another committee to review the draft policy and finalise it for government''s approval. He said the ongoing debate on the methods of coal extraction should come to an end in view of the country''s energy crisis.

"We should take a decision on coal on a consensus basis for the sake of our energy security without any more delay. Everybody should realise the crisis," he told the meet.

He observed that 80 percent of the National Energy Policy was not implemented as of. He said the country needs foreign investment in power and energy sectors for three reasons--to arrange funds, to attain technology and to establish a good management.

Appreciating the government move for floating international tender for oil and gas exploration, Dr Izaz Hossain said the country should have gone for such move much earlier. "If we had been able to go for tender, the crisis would not be such acute," he said.

Mentioning the debate on Phulbari Coal Mine, he said the government should have an independent survey on the potential, benefits and damage to the local community. Dhaka University Prof Mustafizur Rahman said the issue of Phulbari coal mining has been a political issue in the country.

But it should be considered from economic and energy point of view. Mining specialist Dr Mushfiqur Rahman said the optimum extraction of coal and its proper utilization should be the main objective of the coal-extraction debate. He said in the open-pit mining, 85 percent coal extraction is possible while in the underground, only 15 percent is possible.

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