Thousands take to streets in Bangladesh protesting frequent power cuts

DHAKA, Oct 5 (APP) – Thousands of angry people went on a rampage and ransacked the local power management offices in Munshiganj and Gazipur district headquarters on Tuesday. The protesters blocked the Dhaka-Mawa Highway, near Mawa Super Market in Lauhajang sub-district in Munshiganj on Tuesday morning. Earlier the previous night, they also had laid siege on and vandalised the Chandra local office of the Rural Electrification Board.Several hundred agitated people obstructed traffic movement on the highway from 9:45am to 10:45am. They withdrew the blockade only after the authorities assured them of meeting their demands.
Mahadeb Saha, one of the protesters, told newsmen, “We do not get electricity more than two or three hours in a day. So, we were compelled to take to the streets.”Lauhajang police chief Helal Uddin said, the authorities had assured of augmented power supply in the area. The administrators had called for an opinion exchange meeting in this regard in Mawa, he added.In Gazipur north of Dhaka city, thousands of agitated people had thrown brickbats and had vandalised windowpanes of the local power office. The police later reached the spot to bring the situation under control.The police also arrested three people, Shahidul, Sahid, and Bhulu, for their alleged involvement in the incident.
Mohammad Mokhlesur Rahman, deputy general manager of the Chandra office of the Dhaka power office that only 40 megawatt  electricity was being supplied from the Kabirpur grid against a daily demand for 90MW.Power is supplied to Kaliakoir, Tangail’s Mirzapur, Savar Export Processing Zone and Jahangirnagar University from this grid.Unrelenting night-time power outages — often continuing for hours together have made life miserable in the capital and other cities, who cannot afford generators or instant power supplies.

The on-again off-again power outages in metropolitan cities have turned the nights into veritable nightmares for most low-income people who are virtually forced to keep awake all through their night.When the power goes, it is a long wait for it to return to give us a relief, though often for a very short time, said a disgruntled victim of electricity crisis in Dhaka city.We could not sleep the whole night. We stayed awake waiting for the electricity, but it hardly comes back quick, says Jahanara Nargis, a resident of Makki Mosque Lane in Dhaka city’s Rampura area.Nargis, mother of a six-year-old girl, said she could not sleep Monday night as longer power outages had compelled her to use the hand-fan to comfort her daughter.Most areas in the capital and other metropolitan cities have been experiencing frequent power cuts in last few days. Electricity goes off every now and then, disrupting industrial production and business activities. The worst victims are critical patients at hospitals which lack adequate stop-gap power generation capacity. Equally affected are students who have to prepare for their exams ahead.
There are other fall-outs of the shortage in power supply. Lack of power also prevents water being lifted from underground reservoirs onto rooftop tanks.

According to statistics of Bangladesh Power Development Board, maximum generation of power was 3,888.8 MW against a demand of 5,150 MW. The actual demand of power, however, is about 6,000 MW.Shortage of gas supply in the national grid and technical problems at the power plants—mostly aging and decrepit—caused the daily power load shedding, PDB officials said.
Such regular power outages are causing damage to household electronic appliances like refrigerators, air-conditioners and television sets, complained many housewives.
All the food stuff kept in the refrigerators get rotten due to the continuous power outage,’ Tania Rahman, a housewife at Mahanagar residential area in Rampura of Dhaka city said. Tania said she recorded power cuts of five times -App