ঢাকাশনিবার, ২রা মার্চ, ২০২৪ খ্রিস্টাব্দ

20 companies in Chittagong, including City Corporation at the top, are not paying their Tk 138 crore electricity bills.

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ফেব্রুয়ারি ৪, ২০২৪ ২:৩৫ অপরাহ্ণ
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Bangladesh Power Development Board (PDB) owes bills of Tk 138 crore 38 lakh to 20 government and private institutions of Chittagong. Chittagong City Corporation and Ministry of Disaster and Relief are the top two organizations in this list of Chittagong Distribution Southern Zone. Till 2023, Tk 110 crore 73 lakh are owed to these two institutions. Out of this, the dues of the Disaster and Relief Ministry increased by Tk 17 crore 21 lakh in one year. Thus PDB is failing to collect these dues for years.

It is known that government and private institutions are making the excuse of not having funds as the reason for the bill arrears. Besides, the dues of the Ministry of Disaster and Relief are due from the Bihari Colony, which have accumulated since the post-independence period. Surcharge (interest on outstanding bills) is higher than these outstanding electricity bills.

Officials of government institutions say that there should be no delay in payment of bills if the government gives money on time. PDB unreasonably demanded extra money without taking the matter into consideration.

According to the 2023 report, PDB will receive Tk 51.5 million from Ministry of Disaster and Relief which is the top among government institutions. Till July 2022, the outstanding amount was more than 34 crore 29 lakhs. In a year and a half, outstanding bills have increased by Tk 17 crore 21 lakh. The second place in the list is the Ministry of Agriculture, their arrears are Tk 8 crore 13 lakh. In 2022, the amount due was 7 crore 78 lakh 711 taka.

Next is the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), their arrears of Tk 3 crore 38 lakh. 2 Crore 69 Lakhs are owed to Jail Khana Police Forces.

Tk 2 crore 65 lakh due to Home Ministry, Tk 2 crore 10 lakh to Ministry of Religion, Tk 90 lakh to Health Department, Housing and Public Works Tk 90 lakh, Public Administration Tk 8 lakh, PDB to Railway Tk 2 lakh.

Besides, Chittagong City Corporation has the highest bill arrears among semi-government institutions. 59 crore 23 lakh rupees are still due to them, which in 2022 was Rs 59 crore 3 crore 13 thousand 455 rupees.

The Directorate of Public Health and Engineering owes Tk 6 crore 1 lakh, WASA owes Tk 37 lakh, Municipalities and Union Parishads owe Tk 17 lakh, and various universities owe Tk 7 lakh.

At the same time, PDB owes Tk 6 lakh to the Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Board, Tk 4 lakh to the Chittagong Development Authority, Tk 3 lakh to the Post Office and its department, Tk 3 lakh to the Directorate of Social Services and Tk 2 lakh to the Water Development Board.

Rezaul Karim, Chief Engineer of PDB Chittagong Zone, said, “PDB has continued various regular activities including issue of notices and meetings to collect dues. But most of the institutions pay the dues by the end of December. They keep talking about the budget deficit. However, since the beginning of this year, we have started a vigorous program to collect bills. We are continuing to contact the outstanding offices.

Rezaul Karim, Chief Engineer of PDB Chittagong Zone, said, “The demand for additional money is baseless. Interest accrues due to non-payment of dues. There is no opportunity to waive interest on outstanding bills without a decision in an inter-ministerial meeting.

He also said, ‘Relief and disaster dues are due from Biharis. The number of Bihari colonies in the city has been in arrears since the post-independence period. Efforts are always on to recover the dues. But I can’t be successful.