Top officials of the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) have expressed their satisfaction at the quality of bitumen being produced at Bashundhara Bitumen Plant.
A delegation, led by LGED Chief Engineer Md Abdur Rashid Khan, made a visit to the bitumen plant, country’s first-ever such venture in the private sector, at Keraniganj on the outskirts of the capital on Wednesday.
Chief Marketing Officer of Bashundhara Group Sector-B Khandaker Kingshuk Hossain and bitumen plant in-charge Nafis Imtiaz Alam accompanied the delegation during the visit.
Islamic University Assistant Professor Dr Nazmus Sakib made a presentation on comparative quality of bitumen in the context of road condition and weather in Bangladesh.
LGED Chief Engineer Abdur Rashid said Bashundhara Group has taken the bold move to set up the country’s first bitumen plant in the private sector. “Bashundhara produces quality bitumen. However, the end users like contractors have to be trained to maintain the quality in the field-level use,” he said.
At present, the annual demand for bitumen in the local market is 5 lakh tonnes while state-run Eastern Refinery Ltd (ERL) produces only 70,000 tonnes.
Bashundhara Group set up the country's first bitumen plant to meet the local demand.
He claimed that the imported bitumen is also a major reason behind the delay in the project work. "The shipments of foreign bitumen take time in freight processing. The use of local bitumen will help us reduce the time of work as well as project costs. Besides, we’ll get fresh product from the local plant," he said.
Abdur Rashid further said his department has been working to ensure quality of bitumen.
“We at LGED want to work together with Bashundhara Group to take the quality of construction to a standard level. Bashundhara Group also produces quality cement as far as we know,” he said.
The LGED chief engineer suggested that the Bashundhara Bitumen authorities set up outlets at the district level for strengthening the supply chain.
Prof Muhammad Zakaria of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) said the government has formed a three-member high-powered committee to monitor the quality of bitumen in field works.
“Bashundhara produces traditional and modified bitumen which can be used in any area considering the country’s weather,” said Prof Zakaria, also chief of the Bitumen Grade Selection Committee.
Chief Marketing Officer of Bashundhara Group Sector-B Khandaker Kingshuk Hossain said Bashundhara Bitumen wants to contribute to the national development activities through producing quality product.
“The local market demand for bitumen is 5 lakh tonnes. We have the capacity to produce 9 lakh tonnes of bitumen annually. At present, the plant is producing 5.5 lakh tonnes. We hope to add 4 lakh more tonnes of bitumen to our production line,” he added.
Plant in-charge Nafis Imtiaz Alam said the industrial conglomerate wants to contribute to energy and communication sectors simultaneously to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Bashundhara Bitumen Plant, a concern of Bashundhara Oil and Gas Company Limited, started commercial operation in February last.