A number of left-leaning political parties have urged the government to reverse its plan to increase power tariffs.
They organised separate protest rallies in front of the National Press Club yesterday.
Two state-run companies —Power Development Board (PDB) and West Zone Power Distribution Company (WZPDC)—urged the energy regulator on March 5 to raise electricity tariff by 15.5 percent and 8.59 percent respectively to help them cut growing losses.
In response, a technical committee of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission recommended a 6.66 percent hike for PDB customers and 7.51 percent raise for WZPDC customers.
A fresh round of power price hike will add to the sufferings of people, said MM Akash, a professor of economics at Dhaka University, who presided over a protest rally of Nagorik Oikko.
“We will build a strong movement to compel the government to cancel the plan,” Akash said, arguing that the power price hike would pull inflation to double digits.
He urged the left-leaning political parties to join a demonstration in front of the power ministry on March 16. The economist suggested the government reduce system loss by 1.22 percent to save Tk 200 crore.
“The government planned to produce 40 billion units of power last year, but they produced 37 billion units.”
The cost of procuring electricity from the rental and quick rental power plants is high, he said.
The government should subsidise the public sector instead of the private sector, he added.
The government should give oil and gas to the unutilised unit of PDB to generate power at lower costs than the rental and quick rental power plants, he said.
The government continues to depend on quick rental plants for the benefit of a section of the business community, said Abus Sattar, member of the central presiding committee of United Communist Party. He urged the government to cancel the deals made with the quick rental power suppliers, set up base-load plants and improve efficiency at the old power plants.