The Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase on Wednesday approved four proposals including one for installing 42,500 solar systems in the country’s three hill districts.
Of these, 40,000 are solar home systems (SHS), each having 100 watt-peak capacity, while the remaining 2,500 are solar community systems, each having 320 watt-peak capacity.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal presided over the meeting.
According to officials, the Parbatya Chattagram Unnayan Board (PCUB) under the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs (MCHTA) will install solar home and community systems at a cost of Tk204.37 crore.
Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory (BMTF) Ltd, an enterprise of Bangladesh Army, won the contract through direct procurement method (DPM) to supply and install the solar systems.
Under the method, any government entity can purchase any product or service through negotiation without any bidding process.
A senior official at MCHTA said that the same proposal was approved by the Cabinet body on April 29 to award the contract to the Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) Welfare Trust in the same process.
He added: “But after objections from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the contract was cancelled and later awarded to BMTF through negotiation.”
Kazi Mokhlesur Rahman, deputy secretary of the MCHTA, said: “About 40,000 families at the off-grid remote areas will benefit from the solar home systems.”
He said: “The government will provide the solar systems to the families free of cost which will enable a consumer to use four LED bulbs, each having 3 watt capacity, a mobile recharging panel, a 12 volt fan and a small TV.”
There will be a battery to provide 5-6 hours backup power supply for the solar system.
The committee also approved a proposal of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) of the Education Ministry to award a contract for printing and supply of about 1.68 crore textbooks for students of different classes at a cost of Tk59.36 crore. Six bidders won the contract.
The committee approved two separate proposals of the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation under the Ministry of Industries for the import of bulk fertilizer.
Of this, Muntajat, of Qatar will supply 30,000 tons of bulk prilled urea fertilizer at a contract value of Tk117.65 crore under the state-to-state contract while Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) will supply the same quantity of bulk granular urea at a cost of Tk117.44 crore.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved a proposal of the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh to cancel the “Matarbari Banshkhali Madunaghat 400kV Transmission Line” project under the public-private partnership (PPP).
Shamsul Arefin, additional secretary to the Cabinet Division, said that the proposal was placed by the PGCB after the private partner of the PPP had failed to execute the project as per the deadline.