POST TIME: 15 August, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Power and water shortage
Holidays bring Dhakaites respite
Staff Reporter, Dhaka

Holidays bring Dhakaites respite

Motijheel, the busiest business district of the capital as well as the country, yesterday stays partially devoid of usual busyness of the traffic and economic activities on the first day after Eid-ul Azha holiday. Photo: Sumanta Chakraborty

During the Eid holidays starting from August 11 this year, dwellers of the capital experienced almost zero electricity failure and water shortage and no gas pressure fall or traffic tailbacks — things that the 360-square km city with about 17 million people face almost regularly. With an estimated eight million Dhaka dwellers away for the Eid holidays in the countryside, consumption of electricity, water and gas in the capital was reduced to almost half, giving the rest a welcome respite from prolonged shortages that have been plaguing the city.

And with all those people absent, the infamous traffic jams of Dhaka almost vanished, except from long tailbacks in and around the few recreational places of the capital. The Eid vacation this year was prolonged as it started on Thursday, which means an added two days of the weekend. The national mourning day — August 15 -- is on Thursday. So, a good number of people are taking the lone Wednesday in between as a leave — making it a nine- day vacation.

Intermittent rains during these days came as a boon for the road traffic as well as for the power generators. While the rain curbed the enthusiasm of many to go out and throng recreational centres in the city, it also lowered consumption of electricity, as many households kept their air-conditioners off because of the cool weather.

According to sources at the Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC), the amount of electricity usually consumed during the Eid holidays tend to be 1,800 to 2,200 MW, while the regular demand is 3,400 to 4,000 MW. Talking to The Independent, Saiful Islam Chowdhury, director of Communication of the Bangladesh Power Development Board (PDB), said the electricity demand throughout the country had been reduced by 3,000 to 4,000 MW because of the Eid holidays.

“Our generation capacity is now over 22,000 MW, but we keep it around 13,000 MW. But during Eid, the demand fell to 8,000 to 9,000 MW. ” said Saiful. “You wouldn’t have complaints of power outages during this time, as about half the population is away from the city. The city has just too many people in normal times for uninterrupted power supply,” he added.

A number of city dwellers, especially in the older part of Dhaka, had to spend a good part of this summer amid acute water crisis. But they too had little to complain against the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) in the last few days.

The water crisis was so acute in several city regions that many people found it hard to get water from the mobile water supply cars of Wasa as those too were short in supply of water due to increased demand. But water consumption also experienced a dramatic decrease during the Eid holidays.

“The city that requires well over 250 crore litres of water everyday, consumed on an average around 110 litres during the Eid holidays,” Kamrul Hasan, chief engineer of Wasa, said. He also said that most of the water used during the Eid holidays was for household work and not for industrial or commercial purposed. “That also helped reduce the demand for water. And so we were able to ensure smooth water supply across the capital,” he added.

The best part of the Eid holidays, however, is a traffic-jam free Dhaka. With half of Dhaka's population off the road, almost three-fourth of the city buses were parked in terminals, making the roads free from long tailbacks.