Parliament passes Bill to extend quick rental power plant law
In the face of strong opposition and criticism from opposition MPs, a bill was passed in parliament today to extend the term of a special law to run rented power plants for another five years to meet power shortage on an emergency basis.
The government says the deadline is being extended for ensuring reliable, uninterrupted and affordable electricity throughout the country.
Opposing further extension of the Bill, BNP and Jatiya Party MPs said the power sector was one of the few sectors where massive corruption and looting had taken place during the tenure of this government.
Terming the Bill as a black law, they also said there is no scope to raise questions about it. As a result, thousands of crores of taka were looted but no action was taken against anyone. The five-year term is being extended to benefit some people.
Opposition lawmakers said the government was saying more electricity is being produced in the country at present than needed and as such why was it necessary to extend the tenure of quick rental again?
They also said the tenure of the Bill is being extended to hand over people's tax money to others.
However, these objections were rejected as the Bill was finally passed by voice vote.
While placing the Bill titled "Quick Enhancement of Electricity and Energy Supply (Special Provision) Act 2021" State Minister for Power, Nasrul Hamid, said the Bill is aimed to extend its length of time by another five years till 2026.
The tenure of the existing law is going to expire in October, 2021.
The cabinet on September 6 gave the final approval to the draft of Quick Enhancement of Electricity and Energy Supply (Special Provision) (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in order to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity and energy for the sake of making Bangladesh into a higher middle-income country by 2030 and a developed country by 2041.
The tenure of the special provision, enacted in 2010, was extended on several occasions in the past.
Opposing the Bill, Gonoforum MP Mokabbir Khan, said the Bill was brought to Parliament in a hurried process. There is an ill motive behind this Bill. In no way, the Bill should be passed. There was a terrible crisis of power in 2010. Now there is no shortage of electricity. As a result, there is no need of this Bill.
Strongly opposing the Bill, Jatiya Party MP Mujibul Haque said he did not think there was a need to extend the term of the Bill.
He said the government needs to ensure distribution line of electricity first. He said the people of his area did not get the benefit of generating so much electricity. There is no electricity in his area for even five to six hours every day.
"People of my area cannot sleep during summer. They were forced to go on strike. When people ask to the rural electricity authorities, they cannot give any answer about the power outage," he said.
Another Jatiya Party MP, Shameem Haider Patwari said, the law was enacted for temporary basis. But the government is extending the tenure of the law for years.
He said the government is claiming that different places of the country have come under 100% electricity coverage. But by extending the tenure of this law, the government is admitting that there is a shortage of electricity. He said there is no electricity in his constituency.
"People in my area do not understand whether the electricity comes or goes," he said.
BNP MP Harunur Rashid said in 2010 there was a shortage of electricity. The deficit has been met with emergency measures. Then why the government is extending the tenure of the law for another five years?
BNP MP Rumeen Farhana said the government had acknowledged through the Bill that there was severe shortage of electricity in the country.