'Co-ordinated policy a must for proper exploration, use'
The country needs a coordinated policy for exploration and proper utilisation of natural resources, and to have food and fuel security as all these are interrelated.
Even if one of these is not attended properly, it is certain that the other ones will be affected.
This was the resounding view of eminent economists, academics and politicians at a roundtable on “Endangered Power Sector and National Interest” in the capital yesterday.
The existing power crisis has been created deliberately through improper utilisation of natural resources and unbridled corruption in the sector over the years. And this eventually triggered the acute crisis of rice now, the speakers noted.
This deliberate fault in dealing with natural resources and power has given the crisis a disastrous proportion, also affecting industries, they said.
The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Electricity and Port organised the rountable held at the Jatiya Press Club.
They pointed out numerous irregularities and corruption involving bureaucrats, lawmakers and even former premiers in striking deals with multinational power, oil and gas companies.
They urged the government to initiate steps to involve local experts in the exploration of natural resources and their proper utilisation.
The power crisis has been created deliberately, and due to improper development policy. This has also resulted in poverty and unemployment in the country. The government must be careful also in dealing with organisations like the World Bank and IMF as they stand for global corporate interest, said renowned economist Prof Anu Muhammad.
Prof Muzaffer Ahmed, convenor of Sujan, a civil society initiative to promote good governance, stressed ensuring power supply to different productive sectors on a priority basis.
Prof Sirajul Islam Choudhury said, “ The country must be turned into a country for the people. Our main enemy is the ruling class who smuggled out our resources in collaboration with imperialists.”
Former adviser of caretaker government Anwarul Kabir Talukder emphasised regular technical audit to save the power sector.
Awami League (AL) leader Matia Chowdhury said the people are being urged to come forward to face the crises in different fields. But they do not have the scope to inquire about what is being done for them, she added.
CPB Secretary General Mujahidul Islam Selim said national character must be changed. “New edition of evil governance will not solve problems. We have seen it many times in the past.”
To revitalise power sector, the speakers emphasized strengthening Bapex, Petrobangla, Desa and Reb, coordinated fuel policy, decentralisation of administration and freeing government organisations concerned from foreign companies' domination.
Prof M Shamsul Alam, director Institute of Energy Technology, Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology, presented the key-note paper while engineer Sheikh Mohammad Shahidullah Port, presided over the roundtable.
According to the keynote paper, the existing power shortage is over 2000 MW.
Other speakers included Prof MM Akash, Dr Atiur Rahman, Prof Abu Ahmed, Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique, Rashed Khan Menon and Hasanul Huq Inu and GM Qader.