Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the setbacks caused in the power sector during the BNP rule was unprecedented.
She said this while inaugurating National Power and Energy Week 2018 at International Convention City Bashundhara in the capital.
In 1996, when Awami League was voted into power, the total electricity generation capacity in the country was only 1,600 megawatts and most households in the country did not have a power connection. In such situation, the AL government, for the first time, initiated power generation through the private sector, the prime minister said.
“The country's total power generation capacity rose to 4300MW in five years. But the generation capacity unprecedentedly came down to 3200MW in the next five-year tenure of BNP. I don't know whether people in any other country have this sort of a bitter experience.”
Urging all to practice austerity in using electricity, Sheikh Hasina said even though the production cost of every unit of electricity is around Tk 6.25, the government is making it available for the people at Tk 4.82.
The government might withdraw the subsidy in future when the country's economy improves further, she said, adding that her government is committed to make the country self-reliant in power and energy and with that objective in mind, the government has attached highest importance to regional cooperation in the power sector, especially with neighbouring countries.
Hasina also said work is underway to import an additional 500 MW electricity from India and hydropower from Nepal and Bhutan. Bangladesh, India and Bhutan are waiting to sign a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the power sector.
The National Power and Energy Week 2018 is being observed with the theme “Onirban Agami”, aimed at showcasing the successes, current activities and future plan of the power and energy sector to the people.
Debate competition for school and college students, awarding journalists for best reporting and employees for good performance, honouring public and private sector entrepreneurs and energy consumers of residential, commercial and industrial sectors for good practices will also be arranged during the Energy Week.
With State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid in the chair, Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation of Nepal Barsha Man Pun Ananta, Prime Minister's Power and Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, and Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Power and Energy Tajul Islam attended the programme as special guests.
Power Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus gave a presentation on the overall activities and future plan of the sector while Mineral Resources Division Secretary Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem spoke, among others, on the occasion.
An audio-visual documentary on the development of the sector during the tenure of the present government was played during the programme.