07-02-2014:The Financial Express: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has left the coal extraction issue to future technology saying that her government's first priority is to protect the land of farmers, says State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid, reports UNB. "The Prime Minister has given us a directive regarding coal extraction saying that the first of all we need food security and land use," said Nasrul Hamid while briefing reporters about the PM's meeting with top officials of the Power and Energy Ministry on Thursday.
Describing the PM's directives, the State Minister said: "This means, the issue of food security and land is the first priority and the other issues will follow that. We want to preserve our land as part of our efforts to ensure food security. Then, we'll decide which technology we'll use to extract coal."
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is the minister in-charge of the Power Ministry, arrived at the Power and Energy Ministry in the morning and stayed there for several hours. This was Sheikh Hasina's first visit to the Power Ministry since she assumed office as the Prime Minister for the third time. She last visited the Power and Energy Ministry in 2011.
"Right now, we want to leave the issue of coal extraction to the future technology as protecting the land of the farmers is the first priority," Nasrul Hamid quoted the Prime Minister as saying. The State Minister said that this is a big directive for the Power and Energy Ministry policymakers and officials. While discussing various issues, the Prime Minister has given some directives how the decision to extract gas could be taken.
Nasrul Hamid said there are some coal-fired power plants under implementation. "The PM has directed to speed up the implementation of the projects and the utilisation of our fund. She said that our foreign currency reserve now stands at US$ 18 billion which will increase to $ 20 billion in the future."
Hamid went on: "The Prime Minister has also directed how we could we implement our projects by using our own fund without depending on foreign funds." About the newly proposed Paira Sea Port, he said the Prime Minister instructed for setting up a big coal-fired power project near the port.
PM's Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, State Minister Nasrul Hamid and other top officials welcomed her at the ministry. She left the ministry at about 2:30 pm after holding a meeting with the officials. Tawfiq-e-Elahi said the PM gave directives on many issues, including expedition in implementation of LNG project and use of solar energy in the country.