People deserve answers for failed govt policies
As the ongoing heatwave gets worse, the country's power shortage is unfortunately showing no signs of improvement. In fact, it is likely to get worse as the Payra power plant is going to shut down completely – currently, one of its units is out of operation – after June 5 due to a coal crisis. According to the State Minister for Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid, power outages have increased alarmingly due to the shutdowns of several power plants. The government is struggling to import fuel for these power plants. So, even though it increased the country's power generation capacity to 23,370 MW – more than the real demand – what it is actually capable of producing at present is much less (around 11,753 MW during peak hours on Saturday, for example) than what is necessary. This is a perfect example of the poor planning and policies the government has pursued over the years in regards to the power sector.
Residents of Dhaka city have been complaining about their extreme suffering amidst frequent power cuts as the temperature rose to 37 degrees Celsius on Saturday. In many areas of the capital, power outages have been occurring seven times or more, and both during the daytime and at night. As a result, children and adults have been falling sick, and hospitals across the country have been struggling to operate. Industries are also being affected badly and are facing production losses. People living in rural areas are doing even worse, as they are reportedly getting electricity for only five to six hours a day.
It is shocking that after boasting so strongly about their power sector policies, government officials have brought the sector to such a disastrous state. How can the power ministry allow the plants to close over its failure to pay the coal bills? Simultaneously, the government has allowed for huge amounts of payments to be made to idle power plants in the form of capacity charges. So, while on one hand the people were made to foot that bill, on the other, it is they who are also being made to suffer through these frequent power outages. The energy minister in particular, and the government in general, must answer for this.