Fuel crisis hampers operation of generators at DWASA pumpsShahin Akhter
The Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority operates its generators only during half of the load shedding hours as the authorities are failing to provide required amount of fuel to the pumps.
Employees at the DWASA water pumps in different areas told New Age that they had complained about shortage of diesel to run their pumps but the authorities did not supply the diesel as per the requirement.
At present there are 612 water pumps in the city while 204 of them have dual connections and 433 have permanent generators. The authorities also have 60 mobile generators.
According to DWASA’s system, operation and control division, which got information from the authorities’ all 11 zones, the area experienced 1,883 hours of load shedding from April 23’s 6:00am to April 24’s 6:00am while its generators were active for 904.5 hours.
An employee at a Dhanmondi DWASA water pump said he got about 200 litres of diesel on April 7 and added that he ran the generator only three days with the diesel as a generator needs about 22 litres of diesel per hour.
‘I lodged a complaint with the modes zone 3 on April 9 regarding diesel shortage but the complaint remained unheeded,’ the employee said, adding that in the current month the highest duration of load shedding was nine hours.
Another DWASA pump operator at Farmgate said he had lodged complaint asking diesel a few days ago to run his pump’s generator during load shedding but got no response.
A Rampura DWASA water pump operator said it was not possible for them to run the pump’s generator throughout the load shedding hours.
‘It is too expensive to run these generators on diesel,’ he added.
Meanwhile citizens of areas like Mohammadpur Shekhertek, Dhanmondi, Rampura, Badda, Gulshan, Tejkunipara, Shewrapara, Kazipara and Adabar are facing water crisis from May this year.
Mohammad Chunnu, a Dhanmondi dweller, alleged that the authorities did not run their generators in order to pilfer diesel of the pumps.
‘In the name of giving rest to the pumps, they sold the allocated diesel and took away people’s money,’ he added.
A DWASA pump operator at Badda said the central office remained silent about distributing diesel while the people at the pumps had to face people’s wrath.
A senior DWASA official recently told New Age that about 50 generators were in stock for future use.
DWASA managing director Taqsem A Khan said at present the water situation was comparatively better than previous years as it was producing 217 crore litres of water on average a day against the demand for about 220 crore litres.
‘Due to load shedding, which is the only problem, our water pumps’ production is being hampered,’ Taqsem said and added that they had to give rest to the generators as well as the pumps for a certain time.
‘If load shedding continues for 1,500 hours, we run the generators for 750 hours as it is not possible for a pump to run 24 hours,’ he said.
The managing director also admitted that after the price hike of fuel oils it became expensive to run the generators.
‘You know we are running on subsidy and nothing runs smoothly if it runs on subsidy,’ he said.
About the pumps, which have dual connection, he said these pumps also take rest for about 15 to 30 minutes during each load shedding hour.
According to the National Load Despatch Centre, the demand for power in the capital now stands at around 2,000MW while the power board supplied around 1,500MW on average.
The government on December 29, 2011 increased prices of diesel from Tk 56 to Tk 61 a litre.
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