B’desh power crisis: Hasina addresses countrymen

B’desh PM asks countrymen "not to waste electricity" as nation plunges into severe power crisis forcing govt to enforce austerity steps.

Updated: Apr 01, 2010, 14:23 PM IST

Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh
Hasina has asked countrymen "not to waste electricity" as the
nation plunges into severe power crisis forcing the government
to enforce austerity measures including restriction on using
air conditioners.

"We are currently faced with nearly 2000 megawatts of
power shortage...the problem cannot be solved overnight. I
urge all not to waste electricity," she told a function late
yesterday as the electricity crisis subsequently disrupting
the water supply process exposed her one-year-old government
to a severe crisis.

Besides, she held the past Bangladesh Nationalist
Party-led four-party alliance and the subsequent caretaker
governments responsible for the present power and gas crises.

She alleged that the erstwhile governments did not
take any measure to resolve the energy crisis in the country.

Her comments came as lawmakers of ruling Awami League
and its partners in the grand alliance have expressed fear
that the commotion over power, water and gas situation may go
beyond control as residents of the capital city were staging
sporadic protests at different areas of Dhaka.

Earlier this week, the government had issued an order
asking all private households, public and private offices,
businesses, shopping malls and shops in city to keep their air
conditioners switched off from 6:00pm to 11:00 pm as part of
an austerity campaign.

The authorities also ordered rationing of power under
a load management measure called load shedding switching off
the supply to certain areas for certain periods of the day
while army troops were called out to guard and monitor the
water distribution systems as the distribution plants could
not pump out adequate waters for want of electricity.

The state-run Power Development Board sources said
they could currently produce nearly 4,000 megawatt power
against the demand for 5,200.

In Bangladesh, the demand for power was increasing at
a rate of eight to 10 per cent every year while the crisis
intensified as the authorities were forced to divert the power
to rural areas for irrigation for major Boro crop cultivation.