Eastern times Correspondent, Dhaka, 12 September: Bangladesh Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday inaugurated five power plants with a total electricity generation capacity of 779MW, aiming to provide power connections to every household of Bangladesh.
Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the power plants through a videoconference from her official residence Ganobhaban as the government planned to bring the country’s 100 per cent population under electricity coverage.
The five power plants are — Bibiyana-III 400MW Combined Cycle Power Plant in Habiganj, Zulda, Chittagong 100MW Power Plant Unit-2, Meghnaghat 104MW Power Plant in Narayanganj, Modhumoti 100MW Power Plant in Bagerhat and upgradation of Sylhet 150MW Power Plant to 225MW Combined Cycle Power Plant in Sylhet.
Prime minister’s Power and Energy advisor Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, state minister for power, energy and mineral resources Nasrul Hamid, the power secretary and the chairman of the Bangladesh Power Development Board were present at Bijoy Hall of Bidyut Bhaban during the opening ceremony.
According to the power ministry, the government has successfully constructed 119 power plants with an electricity production capacity of 20,293MW since assuming power in 2009.
The government had targeted to generate 24,000 MW electricity by 2021, and the target has already been exceeded as it reached 25,235 MW (including captive power), which was 4,942 MW in 2009, bringing around 99.5 percent of the population under electricity coverage.
The ministry says the per capita electricity generation reached 560kWh, which was only 220kWh in 2009. The system loss has been brought down to 8.49 per cent from 14.33 per cent, it added.
While addressing the programme, the prime minister stressed the importance of keeping the environment in mind while taking any development project.
‘We must focus on the environment while taking any project; we always should take protective measures before taking any step,’ she said.
The PM renewed her call to people to maintain austerity while using electricity as the government provides power at a huge subsidised price.
‘The production cost of electricity is much higher. To provide services to subscribers, we’re giving huge subsidies. The billing price is much lower than the production cost.’
Requesting all to be careful about unnecessary usage of electricity, Hasina said, ‘If you don’t have any need, please turn the electricity switches off.’
She said how much the government could provide subsidies if people do not maintain austerity. ‘That should be taken care of by consumers.’
Talking about the huge production of power in Bangladesh, the prime minister said the transmission lines have to be set up alongside increasing the production to meet the demand. ‘So, we’re constructing the transmission lines as well.’
Hasina said the main aim of the government is to extensively provide electricity to rural areas so that the scope of employment generation increases.
‘The overall development of rural people is on top of our priority list. That’s why we’ve given the highest importance to communications and power lines,’ she said.
Regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, Hasina said the government is providing vaccines for people so that no one is left out of it, no matter what the cost is.
She requested all to maintain health guidelines even after taking vaccines.
Hasina, however, admitted that the development pace in the country had suffered a setback due to the pandemic.
Briefly describing the farsighted development plans of the government, the prime minister said the government had taken the Delta Plan 2100 so that the development pace could continue generations after generations.
‘There must not someone come who will again put Bangladesh under the chains of slavery again,’ she said.
A video on the development of the power sector of the country was screened at the programme.
The prime minister also unveiled a book titled 100 on the occasion.