2023-01-28 20:24:15 BdST
Tk 4.7m device stolen from highly secured, locked lab of Rampal power plant
A Tk 4.7 million bomb calorimeter, used to measure the calorific value of coal, has been stolen from a highly secured lab of the Rampal power plant.
The US-made device was stolen on Jan 15, a day after the plant suspended electricity generation due to a lack of coal just 27 days after the launch of commercial production.
Mohammad Shamsuddin, chief of Rampal Police Station, said on Friday that they were interrogating suspects as part of the investigation into a case started by Md Oliullah, a plant manager, against unidentified people.
Oliullah declined to comment on the incident, saying he was unaware of the progress of the investigation.
According to the case document, the device was on the table when chemist Abdul Maleque closed the lab at 6 pm on Jan 14. Maleque left after handing the key to employee Musa Parvez and asking him to give it to technicians Md Saddam Hossain and Tanvir Rahman.
Saddam and another technician, Md Masum Billah, took charge the next morning following the shift of Md Zakaria Al Razi and Masum. Cleaner Abdul Noman found out the device was not on the table at 9 am and informed the high-ups.
This is not the first time valuable machinery has been stolen from the plant. The Rapid Action Battalion and Ansar Battalion personnel arrested 54 people and recovered stolen machinery worth around Tk 10 million in the past 15 months.
According to officials, as many as 150 Ansar Battalion personnel, 30 general members of Ansar, 17 police officers, and sentries of contractor Vel guard the premises on a 915-acre piece of land. The plan has 450 acres secured with boundary walls.
In August 2010, Bangladesh Power Development Board and India's state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation or NTPC signed a memorandum of understanding to build the power plant in Bagerhat’s Rampal.
Two years later, an agreement was signed with NTPC to build the plant under a joint venture.
The plant has been at the centre of controversy since its inception as environmentalists mounted a strong campaign to address the negative impact the coal-fired power plant would have on the nearby Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world.
During her visit to India on Sept 6 last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi jointly inaugurated one unit of the plant. The plant started supplying electricity to the National Grid on Dec 17.
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