A huge quantity of coal has remained stacked up in the coal stockyard of Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Ltd [BCMCL] as the authorities concerned could not sell them during the peak season (September to December) due to political unrest.
Mine officials said the stockyard has a capacity of 1.5 lakh tonnes of coal, but they have kept around 4 lakh tonnes there.
Besides, 250MW power plant of Bangladesh Power Development Board in Barakuria, which is the largest coal consumer of the mine, has temporarily stopped taking delivery of coal. The plant needs 15,000 to 20,000 tonnes of coal every day, but it has now more than one lakh tonnes in its yard.
Mine sources said if coal stock in the yard crosses 5 lakh tonnes, the company will have no other option but to suspend production. The mine produces around 5,000 tonnes of coal per day.
Brick kiln owners across the country purchase coal from the mine between September and December every year. But they could not collect coal during the period due to countrywide hartals and blockades enforced by the BNP-led alliance.
In September last year, the mine's coal stock was 1.25 lakh tonnes. As coal remained unsold for four months from September to December, stock reached 4 lakh tonnes in January this year, officials said.
Harun-ur- Rashid, a brick kiln owner of Joypurhat, told this correspondent that he needed at least 1400 tonnes of coal during the peak season, but he could not collect the said amount due to hartals and blockades during the period. “I took delivery of 350 tonnes of coal for my brick kiln recently,” he added.
On the other hand, the BCMCL authorities have reduced coal price to 10,200 from 12,600 per tonne to boost sale. Buyers urged the mine authorities to keep the price at around Tk 9,000. They said a tonne of the imported Indian coal is being sold for Tk7, 200.
Mine sources said the Indian coal contains high sulphur, which causes air pollution while coal of BCMCL contains only 0.1 per cent sulphur.
Contacted, Md. Aminuzzaman, managing director of Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Ltd [BCMCL], said as stock has gone up to 4 lakh tonnes, they have reduced coal price to attract buyers. He urged consumers to use coal of BCMCL.