MPs vent anger over load shedding: State minister calls for patience

State minister for power, energy and mineral sources Nasrul HamidFile photo

Members of parliament (MP) of the opposition Jatiya Party vented anger over the load shedding situation in the country during a discussion on the supplementary budget at the Jatiya Sangsad (parliament) on Tuesday afternoon.

They said the government had some success in the power sector. However, the situation has changed drastically.

The way that the load shedding is increasing, it might create a public outrage. The situation would not have been such if the coal and gas had been imported in time, they added.

The JaPa MPs said this during the discussion on the proposal to curtail the allocation for the energy and mineral resources division.

In reply to the criticism from the opposition, state minister for power Nasrul Hamid asked everyone to have patience. He said, “The situation will become normal again within the next 15 to 20 days.”

The state minister also demanded for an allocation of more than Tk 324 million for the energy and mineral resources division in the supplementary budget for the current fiscal.

Some 10 MPs proposed to reduce the allocation. However, only six of them took part in the discussion. The remaining members were absent.

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Five MPs from the JaPa and independent MP Rezaul Karim took part in the discussion on the retrenchment proposal.

Jatiya Party MP Kazi Firoz Rashid said, “People are not getting electricity. The situation would not have emerged if the coal and gas had been imported in time.”

He also called for expediting the process of coal import and reopening the power plants as soon as possible.

Load shedding
Prothom Alo file photo

Another JaPa MP Rustam Ali Farazi said, “People should be informed about the time and place of load shedding in advance.”

JaPa MP Fakhrul Imam said, “We need 14,000MW electricity. However, we produced 26,000MW electricity. Now the power generation has dwindled to 7,000MW.”

The energy security and the power division are under threat in the current context, said JaPa MP Rawshan Ara Mannan.

JaPa MP Shameem Haider Patwary said, “We had to close the operations at the Payra power plant as we couldn’t clear the bill. Why aren’t we clearing the dues?”

He further said, “I have seen media reports that the capacity charge of the power plants was Tk 900 billion. Why was the contract made in such a way that the capacity charge must be paid?”

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“This government had some major success in the power sector, which has been destroyed completely due to the ongoing crisis. It could spark a mass outrage,” he added.

State minister calls for patience

State minister for power, energy and mineral resources, Nasrul Hamid, explained the background of the existing crisis during the discussion on the retrenchment proposal.

He said, “We could not open the letter of credit (LC) in time. We could not import coal in time due to the global system and the financial crisis. As a result, we had to shut down the Payra power plant for the time being. We will reopen it within the next 15 days.”

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Calling upon people to have patience, Nasrul Hamid said, “There was a financial crisis in the wake of price hike of fuel in the international market. It won’t last long. The situation would become normal within the next 15-16 days."

The state minister said, “Please have patience. If we can do that considering the global and national situation, then we will be able to overcome the situation soon.”