By Ashis Biswas
There has been no negative impact in Bangladesh of recent disclosures made by the short seller US-based Hindenburg Research group, about an alleged stock market manipulation by the Adani group: A Bangladeshi Minister has confirmed that Bangladesh will receive its first supply of 750 Megawatts from an Adani-built power plant at Godda, Jharkhand, from March this year, on schedule.
This follows an earlier agreement between the Adani-owned company and Bangladesh government, ensuring the regular supply from India to Bangladesh of around 1500 MW of power daily. The Adanis are about to complete the construction of two plants of 750 MWs capacity each in Jharkhand, specifically for exporting power to Bangladesh at suitable market rates, according to sources in Dhaka. The suppliers have also built a dedicated transmission line to ensure uninterrupted energy flow from India into Bangladesh.
While supply from the first unit scheduled to begin from March, the second 750 MW unit was expected to go functional from April, Bangladesh power minister Hamid said. With such volumes of increased supply available and more generation from existing units in Bangladesh, he assured Bangladeshi consumers and industries that there was no reason to panic. Load shedding would be gradually phased out and the economic outlook would improve.
There had been media speculation in both countries as to whether the project would start on schedule, following the controversy generated by the startling disclosures made by Hindenburg experts. A section of Bangladeshi officials connected with the project, reportedly sought fresh clarification on some provisions in the agreement. This was seen as natural thanks to the worldwide adverse fallout generated about the Adanis by the Hindenburg report. Strong allegations of market manipulation and the artificial inflation of the share values of their companies were made against the Adanis
About the time Bangladeshi Power Minister Nasrul Hamid was confirming the status of the project, in Delhi an Indian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman indicated that GOI had no information about the status of the project. An agreement had been worked out between the Bangladesh Government and an Indian company. So far as GOI was concerned, there was no official involvement in the project. He was responding to a query from mediapersons regarding the fate of the project and the initial concerns reported from Dhaka.
There had followed much public speculation regarding the reported net loss of over $120 billion affecting various shareholders in the Adani-owned companies, whose shares declined sharply in value for several days. France replaced India as the world’s fifth largest economy, as the latter slipped a place and was only narrowly ahead of the UK at number 7, as the humongous Adani-owned assets declined in value. The third position enjoyed by the Adanis in the Forbes list of richest world entrepreneurs was also lost.
The import of power from Indian companies has been a feature of efforts made in recent times by the Bangladesh Government to reduce long sells of load shedding. Despite an increase in local power production, Bangladesh found it difficult to increase generation on account of the high rise in the prices of all varieties of fuel — crude oil, gas or LNG — in the wake of the war in Ukraine.
The country expects a demand for minimum 25,000 MWs daily in a year or two, while its internal generation from all sources remains well below that level. Bangladesh has worked out arrangements with Indian and Nepalese Governments as well as private companies to secure a steady supply of power in the immediate future.
Ignoring concerns over environmental pollution and issues related to global warming, GOB has recently resumed the use of coal as before. However, stocks of coal were low and needed replenishing, necessitating urgent supplies from Indonesia and other countries.
Officials told Dhaka-based media that because of winter, the demand for power had reduced somewhat, but the situation would change for the worse as spring was knocking on the door, and temperatures would rise gradually. GOB had little choice but to launch an all out drive to increase generation substantially before the onset of summer. All concerned staff and officials in the Power department had instructions to work on a war footing to ensure the maximum relief possible for the long suffering industrial sector as well as common people.
Hopefully, other improvements in the working of the power sector were round the corner, officials said. From June , Bangladesh would receive a direct supply of diesel from India, following the completion/commissioning of the 130 kmg long pipeline from Numaligarh in India to Bangladesh via Siliguri. And, a new gas bearing well with significant reserves had been struck at Bhola, which would enable the country to meet its own gas requirements for at least next 11 years and longer, according to present estimates. (IPA Service)