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     Volume 7 Issue 35 | August 29, 2008 |

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And the winner is...


This government should have done this. That government did not do this. This government has put its hand in too many pies. That government ignored such and such important issues. This government... That government... The next government...

The squabble goes on until someone spoils Bangali's favourite pastime by saying 'dinner is served' or 'let's go, our main gate will be shut'.

Amidst such pointless and unsustainable yet longstanding bickering in our society, one cannot be blamed for wondering how this nation of whatever-comes-to-the-mouth (14 crore, 15 crore...) survived three decades and a half, and looks stronger than ever before with each new sunrise on one of the New Seven Wonders of the World (I assumed we were all seven). The answer my friend lies in the ingenuity of our people, the sweat of our farmers and the toil of our industrial workers.

We have our Achilles' heels (!), namely 'Olympic' gold in jealousy, backbiting, falsehood, adulteration and two pies income. That should have taken us above Ethiopia, Romania and Belarus in the medals table at Beijing; only that IOC recognises only those events that other countries are good at, such as scull (in skull we could have had taken a shot<>) and dressage, i.e. training horses to execute precise movements (<>in civil serventage we perhaps stood a chance, although expecting stiff competition from Great Britain if the TV serial 'Yes Minister' is any indication).

We are obviously good at many things, (for example how many Englishmen can read Bangla as compared to vice versa) but because these achievements are not heralded even by us, more so because we have traditionally belittled our triumphs with such horrible assumptions as 'the opposition did not take the match seriously', or worse, 'this is not played anywhere else', or worst, 'you are not bideshi’.

Now tell me, is not an electromechanical engine international? More precisely, electricity power generation units? For heaven's sake, they invented it. Now if the foreigners fail and our boys do the job with greater efficiently, in much lesser time and save the nation foreign exchange worth100 crore Taka, how many gold medals are you willing to give Bangladesh? Huh!

My only lament in this great story is that the gold medal entry made inside page in our national newspapers. Had it been the reverse, say some of our kith and kin pocketed a crore or so, then that would have made a four-column, red-font headlines in the front page. We are all patriotic to that extent.

We should give credit profusely where it is due, and very few people in the entire world deserve it as much as our brilliant (not to mention low-paid) engineers of the Ashuganj Power Station Company Limited (APSCL).

This column proposes that the company be nominated for any of the prestigious national awards Swadhinata Padak or Ekushey Padak, or any other, for if this is not nationalism what is?

Please read the following page five story dispatched by Shahidul Islam from Brahmanbaria for The Daily Star of 14 August:

Local engineers save Tk 100cr in foreign currency
150MW Ashuganj power unit repaired in one-third of time sought by foreign experts

Foreign currency equivalent to Tk 100 crore has been saved as engineers and technicians of Ashuganj Power Station Company Limited (APSCL) have successfully repaired 150 megawatt Unit 3.

Local engineers and technicians completed the task in 85 days at a cost of Tk 29 lakh only while German firm Alstom, which also did overhauling work of the unit in 2003, had said it would take nine months for the purpose, said Md. Nurul Alam, director (Technical) of APSCL.

As Unit 3, the 'best one' of all the eight units of APSCL, went out of order due to turbine fault on May 13 this year, the authorities urgently contacted German manufacturing company Alstom that supplied equipment of this unit and completed its instillation in 1986, APSCL office sources said.

Authorities of the foreign firm said it will take at least nine months for them to repair Unit 3 while the cost would be at least 100 crore taka.

The foreigners earlier failed to complete work within the scheduled time. They took more than two years in doing overhauling of Unit 5 although it could be completed by one year, APSCL officials said.

Twenty-four engineers and technicians and several supporters from PDB under the supervision of engineer Md. Nurul Alam, director (Technical) of APSCL, worked in two shifts for about 16 to 20 hours a day, leading to successful completion of the repair work in 85 days, APSCL sources said.

On August 9, they resumed functioning of the unit that is running under commissioning.

“Our engineers and technicians have worked with efficiency to repair Unit 3 of 150 MW. We are hopeful that the unit will go into production in full swing within three to four days,” APSCL Managing Director engineer Abdul Khaleque said.

The 678MW Ashuganj Power Station is now producing 500MW of electricity as seven other units of the station are running in full swing, APSCL sources said.

Makes your heart warm, does it not?


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