STATE Minister for power Iqbal Hassan Mahmud is said to have come under fire at a discussion meeting with the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) last week. The businessmen raised several issues to the minister. These included inadequate supply of electricity, frequent load shedding, ghost electric bills and the highhandedness of the power sector officials. They sought the help of the minister in resolving these problems.
The business community to their utter frustration did not receive any inspiring word from the minister. On all the issues raised, the minister reportedly remained silent. Actually Iqbal Hassan Mahmud has nothing to say as during the last four and half years his only achievement is the establishment of the 80 mw power plant at Tongi which too remains out of order most of the time. The business leaders invited the power minister to the FBCCI to voice their concern at the shortage of power, which is one of the basic factors of production. We cannot understand how will the economy develop with such a poor situation of power supply? How will potential investors convince themselves that their investments will be risk-free and go ahead to implement their projects when there is such an acute shortage of power? Instead of giving any assurance, we have come to know from newspapers that the state minister rather advised the business people to practice austerity in consumption of power. It is really ridiculous. Does it not mean shut down the mills and factories regularly for some hours and incur losses to be in the red?
We have seen the poor performance of the government in the power sector. No serious efforts have been made to encourage large foreign energy companies who could be interested in setting up power plants in our country. Nor could the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and other donors be persuaded to invest in the power sector adequately. Sorry for all their tall talks about the virtue of poverty reduction.
Niketon, Gulshan-, Dhaka