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Low-grade battery makers operate sans permission

Alleges industry trade group

May 06, 2018 00:00:00

FE Report

The use of low-grade and inefficient batteries remains unchecked due to the establishment of a number of illegal and unauthorised manufacturing units across the country

This causes losses of revenue to the government exchequer every year, industry insiders alleged.

Most of these batteries are being used in three wheelers, or autos in suburb areas.

Some of such inferior quality batteries are also being used in IPS (instant power supply) machines and solar panel systems.

A section of unscrupulous business people having nexus with corrupt officials of state-run departments have installed several dozens of battery manufacturing units across the country.

These 'unauthorised' battery manufacturing factories neither have permission to install such plants nor have licence from Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) or for purchase, use or storage of acid, it has been alleged.

Most of these 'illegal' battery manufacturing units are located in Khulna, Bagerhat, Narsingdi and around Dhaka city, insiders said.

Many privately-owned captive power plant owners are allegedly assisting such illegal battery manufacturers by supplying electricity and charging substantial money as bill.

The battery manufacturers having permission are, however, protesting such malpractice over the past several years.

The Bangladesh Accumulator and Battery Manufacturers Association (BABMA) has recently brought the allegations against illegal operators and sough intervention of the National Board of Revenue.

The authorised-battery manufacturers also raised the issue to the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) for its action.

Pointing to an example of such irregularities, a top official alleged that one of such illegal battery manufacturers- Xiangshu Xinding Storage Company Ltd (XXSCL)-in Narsingdi has long been consuming electricity from a nearby captive power plant owned by a textile mill.

When contacted, XXSCL manager Mohidul Islam acknowledged that the battery manufacturing company has been taking electricity through six separate overhead electricity cables from the gas-fired captive power plant of the nearby J J Mobarak Haq Textile Mill.

"We are paying around Tk 2.0 million as monthly bill to the textile mill owner as the electricity bill," he said.

The XXSCL has the capacity to produce around 15,000 pieces of battery a month, said Mr Islam.

Over a dozen Chinese technicians and 100 locals are involved with battery manufacturing in the factory, he said.

The XXSCL, headquartered at Uttara in Dhaka, has sales centre on Nawabpur Road in the city.

Unit Manager of JJ Fabrics and Textile Sharif Hossain also acknowledged supplying extra-electricity from its gas-fired captive plants to a nearby battery factory.

The government has provided licences to the private sector to install gas-fired captive power plants by supplying low-cost gas to meet their own electricity need but not to do business by supplying electricity to others, said a senior official of state-run Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB).

"It is illegal and the misuse of precious natural gas," he said.

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