Rental power benefits vested groups
Prof Dr Anu Muhammad speaks at a roundtable in Dhaka Friday.
The government is continuing power generation through rental power plants to help maximise profits of a section of people, despite having its huge negative consequence, speakers said yesterday.
Instead of running the quick rentals, the government could generate 1,600 megawatt more power through renovating the run-down power stations in last three years, they told a roundtable.
Weekly magazine ‘Shaptahik’ organised the roundtable in Dhaka, attended by civil society members and energy experts.
The speakers also suggested that the government should prioritise gas-based and state-owned power plants for low-cost power generation. A nexus of bureaucrats, professionals and politicians is cashing in from the acute power crisis and creating money through rental powers.
They pointed out that supplying gas to private stations, depriving the low-cost state ones, is a part of that blueprint.
“The retention of power crisis along with continuing rental powers is a clear indication of making country’s utility sectors profit-making ventures for the private sector,” Prof Dr Anu Muhammad, who teaches Economics at Jahangirnagar University, said.
“The repeated power rate hikes and setting Tk 13 to Tk 19 per unit price for uninterrupted power are parts of the roadmap of that conspiracy,” he continued.
He said price hike has not been done for improving the power situation, but to compensate the mistakes of the government in the sector and benefit a handful of opportunists.
Dr MM Akash, professor of Economics at Dhaka University, said the government initially went for the emergency solution to offset huge power crisis it inherited from the previous government.
“But, actually it was a wrong decision and created a hotchpotch in the whole economy,” said Akash.
Dr Anu Muhammad said the government could easily make 2,400MW of power only spending Tk 12-15 billion by improving the efficiency of the existing plants. On the contrary, it spent nearly Tk 320 billion to generate 900MW from rental or quick rental powers, he said.
The government is cutting subsidies being prescribed by the International Monetary Fund; but not the causes behind the subsidies. He said subsidies are given to ensure health, education, and small entrepreneurship for common people. But now these are going to give business to a vested quarter.
He said IMF uses its loans as an instrument to create a platform for private sector or multinational companies.
Taking part at the discussion, Syed Abul Moksud said people are now becoming intolerant about the power crisis, which has been made artificially.
He called for forming a highly-powered citizen committee to investigate irregularities taking place in the rental powers.
The Daily Sun/Bangladesh/ 23th June 2012