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4 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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7 MPs in Australia on ‘Petrobangla training fund’

SHAHED SIDDIQUE

A seven-member team of the parliamentary standing committee on power and energy ministry is among a 13-member delegation now in Australia on a trip paid for by money from Petrobangla's training fund supposed to be used exclusively for training its officials. The Australia trip is estimated to cost Tk. 1.50 crore. Sources said that the team also includes a personal secretary of the committee chairman and an assistant secretary of the committee.

The official said that out of 10 members of the committee were not interested as they were busy with other assignments or felt the trip was ethically unacceptable.

Ruhul Amin Hawlader, MP and secretary-general of Jatiya Party (Ershad), and also member of the standing committee for power and energy ministry, told The Independent, “I think it is unethical to use money for training purposes for such a tour and I don’t support this at all.”

Dr M Tamin, an energy expert, told The Independent, “Funds for training is already limited and it should be used properly.”

Tazul Islam, chairman of the committee, was not available for his comments, as he is now out of the country.

Sources said on 19 October, the deputy secretary of the

energy division had issued an order that a group of parliamentary members will visit Australia to observe liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal mining facilities for seven days. The tour commenced on 26 November and, till the filing of this report, is still continuing.

The group includes Tazul Islam, MP and chairman of the standing committee, Md Atiur Rahman Atik, MP, Abu Zahir, MP, M Abdul Latif, MP, AFM Bahauddin, MP, Md Sibly Sadik, MP, Nasima Ferdushe, MP, Shahidul Islam, deputy secretary of energy division, MD Jobair Ali, deputy general manager of Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Limited, Mohammed Shah Alam, DGM of Petrobangla, Khandaker Abdul Mottalib, assistant secretary of the committee, and Zahid Hossan Chawdhury, personal secretary to the Chairman of the committee.

The official order of the energy division also mentioned that all expenses will be borne from Petrobangla's PSC (Production Sharing  Contract) fund.

As per the PSC, the international oil company pays one to two million US dollars for Petrobangla officials' training  purposes.

The government official said already the MPs have received US$ 4,038, each, as their podium and they also received business class air tickets. Two of the MPs took their wives on the trip, at own expenses. Other officials received between US$ 2,441 and US$ 2,857 as podium.

The tour programme was designed by SR Consulting International, a Bangladeshi firm with its office in Fakirapul, Dhaka.

SR Consulting charged US$ 2,400 as training charges per person. SR Consulting organises tour programmes for government officials, particularly from the power and energy sectors, and they design tours as per the government officials' desires.

“For the last two years, this firm has only organised a picnic tour in the name of training programme. For this reason, a former chairman of Petrobangla refused their tour programme, saying that a 'Fakirapul' shop cannot organise an international training programme but a picnic,” said a Petrobangla official.

The firm does not have any website even though it claims it is an international organisation.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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