POST TIME: 10 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Interrupted flow of electricity in winter
The ongoing winter power disturbances are more of an inefficient handling of the emerging realities than the lame excuse of extension and improvement works
Sakib Hasan

Interrupted flow of electricity in winter

Excluding some exclusive areas in Dhaka and a few VIP locations across the country, the rest still drags the legacy of load shedding with no assured signs of improvement at sight. Even in winter when the power consumption is relatively low, people living in the peripheries still have to undergo the bitter experience of power blackout for some reasons or the other. Only recently this power interruption has taken an alarming form in many parts across the country especially in the northern regions in the name of promotion and improvement of this inevitable utility service. Improvement and further promotion are always welcome in power sector but this promotion has to be done at the least minimum inconvenience of the consumers.

The total production of electricity still falls far too short of the gross requirement. The country produced 15,379 MW electricity as of February 2017 as against the total requirement of some 30,000 MW. 92 per cent urban population and 67 per cent rural population have the access to electricity as the source of their light.

 Out of this percentage 50 per cent rural population gets electricity only for some interrupted hours at night. Quite a number of surveys and researches conducted over times by different both public and private organisations have shown the horrifying mismanagement in this core sector for national development. Inefficient transmission and distribution is traditionally the hallmark feature of this sector. The ongoing winter power disturbances are more of an inefficient handling of the emerging realities than the lame excuse of extension and improvement works.

It sounds absolutely absurd that during the lean period the electricity will go at 8a.m and will come back at 70’clock in the evening not in a remote area but right in the bustling urban centres. Almost over a month, this is a usual picture of quite a number of urban locations in Bogra, Sirajganj, Gaibandha, Rangpur, Lalmonirhat etc. Extension works are obviously a continuous process and therefore it has to be done ensuring viable alternatives for the consumers. One-day total disruption is acceptable but once the discontinuation episode repeats itself just over a month then it is a matter of serious concern.

We are ready to accept the fact that our power requirement is not fulfilled due to the negligence and inefficiency of a group of people who are paid and meant to provide us service. It is indeed a serious question before each and every citizen of Bangladesh if a particular organised coterie interest or a pressure group will trash the interest and welfare of the entire country indefinitely.

A great deal of rhetoric regarding the development of the power sector has already been made in many seminars and talk shows but little tangible improvement has been seen in this sector. The nation has up to now spent a huge amount of time over the bitter debate of gas/coal-powered power plants. If just a quarter of the spent efforts and energy is concentrated in improving the transmission and distribution management system the country would be surely benefited hugely.

My issue at hand is obviously the lack of institutional accountability and the concomitant privilege of indemnity that have been eating into the very vitals of the life-saving organisations including the one in the power sector in our country. We are yet to ensure the electricity for all Bangladeshi people. Building the digital Bangladesh will remain just a far-fetched imagination without increasing the generation of electricity and at the same time their proper distribution right to the end-users. The smooth functioning of this most vital sector is being seriously handicapped by the lack of commitment and efficiency of the concerned of the concerned people working there.

The one-day long nationwide blackout in 2014, though first attributed to the failure of a supply line from India, the final thorough and in-depth investigations evidently show that it is the inept handling and manoeuvring of the people in the management who are to be blamed. Again, while the 40% people of the country is still beyond the electricity coverage, wanton wastage of this essential commodity in the form of illegal connections and consumption still account for 25 per cent of the total figure produced in our country. I for myself believe that once I fail to carry out the commitment assigned with me then I should no longer continue in my capacity.

When the entire country, especially those living in the remotest corners of the country, has been suffering from the acute scarcity of electricity, it is absolutely another outrageous decision to supply power to motorized vans, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws across the country. Instead of facilitating the smooth and hassle-free movement of the people on the roads, these power-driven vehicles are actually creating traffic congestion as well as consuming quite a big portion of our valuable electricity. I firmly believe that once the management is set on a solid footing, many ills of the power sector will automatically go.

The writer, Assistant

Professor of English in

Bogra Cantonment Public School & College, is a contributor to

The Independent.

E-mail: shasanbogra1@gmail.com