Dhaka, Sept 10 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday renewed her call to the country’s people to exercise austerity in the use of electricity considering it as a national asset.
"It's my request to all to exercise austerity in using electricity …you please don't misuse it," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating the Ashuganj 450MW combined cycle (north) power plant, Keraniganj 108MW power plant, import of 60 MW power from Tripura and cent percent electrification of 10 upazilas of the country through a videoconference from her official residence Ganobhaban.
She also made a special request to all to switch off power connections before leaving their workplaces and homes to exercise austerity alongside keeping the electricity bills at a desired level.
Mentioning that the government is realizing power tariff at 22 percent less than the actual production cost considering the interest of common people, Hasina said her government is doing this to ensure the access of people to electricity and improve their lifestyle despite incurring huge losses.
She also urged people to use prepaid meters to exercise austerity in power use and stay alert so that no one could play games anymore with electricity bills.
"We want to see there’s no misuse of power. We also want to introduce this prepaid meters across the country and seek your all-out cooperation in this regard…please consider electricity as the country’s asset,” she said.
Noting that electricity is essential for unleashing any development, the Prime Minister said the aim of her government is to ensure cent percent electrification throughout the country whereas the power coverage in Bangladesh is now 80 percent.
She said a nuclear power plant is being established in Rooppur while another will be set up in the southern region for which the government is working to select an island there.
Considering the growing demand of power, her government has been diversifying the source of electricity as some 160 MW of power, including the latest 60 MW, is now being imported from Indian Tripura state, Hasina said.
Besides, efforts are on to procure hydropower from Nepal and Bhutan, she said.
Blasting the BNP-Jamaat government and the subsequent army-backed caretaker government for not generating even a single MW of power during their seven-year tenure, the Prime Minister alleged that the power generation came down to 3,400 MW when her government assumed office in 2009 although the production capacity had reached 4,300 MW when the AL government left power after the 2001 general election.
She said it was her party which first opened up the power generation to the private sector during the 1996-2001 term through enacting a law while captive power generations were also allowed during that time.
Besides, two large power plants -- Meghnaghat 450 MW and Haripur 360 MW -- were set up at that time with private sector initiatives.
Criticising BNP and its Chairperson Khaleda Zia for giving undertaking of selling gas to come to power in 2001, Hasina said, "Such people are still in the country and they can sell not only gas but also the country for coming to power."
While interacting with an imam through the videoconferencing, Hasina reiterated her call to the cross section of people, including guardians, religious leaders and imams, to mobilize massive public opinion against terrorism, militancy and drug addiction, saying Islam is a religion of peace and there is no place for terrorism, militancy and suicidal attempts.
She also made a fervent call to everyone to work devotedly to ensure development of the country and welfare of its people.
Later, the Prime Minister talked to the cross section of people, including public representatives, high officials, religious leaders, students, persons with disabilities and tea labourers, through the videoconferencing.
The Ashuganj 450 MW combined cycle power plant (north) was established at a cost of Tk 2,590 crore with joint financing from the ADB, IDB, GoB and APSCL. This power plant went into operation on June 11 this year where natural gas is used as fuel.
The 10 upazilas that have got hundred per cent access to electricity are Mollahat, Fakirhat, Hakimpur, Kotchandpur, Fenchuganj, Sylhet Sadar, Bheramara, Bhairab, Sitakundu, and Narsingdi Sadar.
Some 6,469.60 kilometers of new power lines have been installed in these 10 upazilas while some 4,39,998 new power connections have been provided spending Tk 993.41 crore by the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB).
Some 460 upazilas will gradually be brought under the cent percent Rural Electrification coverage by 2018.
With the inauguration of 60MW additional power from Tripura, uninterrupted and standard power supply is being ensured in greater Comilla region which is also playing a role in fulfilling the demand of power across the country.
PM's Adviser on power Dr Tawfique-e-Elahi Chowdhury, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, also spoke on the occasion at Ganobhaban. Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, Railways Minister Mazibul Haque, PM's Adviser HT Imam, PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim were, among others, present.
The Prime Minister was connected with 11 districts and one upazila through the videoconference.
Earlier, Power Division Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus made a power-point presentation on the power sector where he showed that the total power generation capacity of the country now stood at 15,761 MW, the power connection receivers increased to 2.59 crore in July which was 1.08 crore at the beginning of 2009, the transmission lines increased to 10,436 kilometers while the distribution line to 4,01,000 kilometers. Besides, the distribution system loss came down to 9.98 percent from the previous 14.33 percent.