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Rationing power for industries

Industrialists fear hampered production

Manjurul Ahsan

The Officers’ Club on the Bailey Road in the capital city is illuminated on Friday amid acute power crisis prevailing in the country. — Sony RamanyThe Officers’ Club on the Bailey Road in the capital city is illuminated on Friday amid acute power crisis prevailing in the country. — Sony Ramany

The government’s latest load management policy by keeping industries shut for 12 hours beginning 6:00pm every day for a month and a half will disrupt industrial production, entrepreneurs said.
They feared that the decision would even ultimately force them to shut the industries such as textile, knitting, dyeing, plastic, braided rug and other export-oriented wet processing factories permanently.
Leaders of the apparel sector will today sit to decide their stand on the government’s decision on keeping their industries shut for 12 hours a day.
The Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association president, AKM Salim Osman, said, ‘We cannot agree to the government decision especially for knitting, dyeing and textile factories.’
He said that the leaders would meet today to decide their stand and take it up with the government agency concerned.
The Bangladesh Textile Mills Association president, Jahangir Alamin, echoed a similar sentiment saying that more than a half of their products were manufactured at night as they did not get uninterrupted power during the day.
He said that the government’s unilateral decision spell disaster for the industrial sector.
‘It is absurd as workers of two shifts will remain jobless for two months,’ he added.
The Power Division on Wednesday urged the entrepreneurs to keep their industries shut between 6:00pm and 6:00am every day for a better management between the demand and the supply.
Power distribution agency officials said that although the decision on keeping the industries shut had been put forth as a request from the Power Division, the agencies had some obligations to enforce it to manage the evening-time demand, mainly residential, between 6:00pm and 11:00pm and irrigation demand between 11:00pm and 6:00am.
A Dhaka Power Distribution Company official said that they would divert about 250MW of power saved from the industrial sector for domestic use and irrigation.
He said that if the industries do not go by the instruction, ‘we will enforce it.’
The power board on Monday sent a notice to heavy industries in Chittagong asking the owners to keep their industries shut during peak hours, between 6:00pm and 6:00am every day, and industrialists have lodged their protests against the power board’s unjust instruction.
Steel mills in Chittagong produce about 60 per cent of the iron rod for construction work.
The Bangladesh Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industries president, Abul Kalam Azad, however, said that the decision would not affect big industries much as most of them have captive power plants.
He said, ‘Small and medium industries will face
problems. But other industries will face increased production cost because of increased expenditure on power from their own generators.’
But as the decision is for a short period, entrepreneurs should cooperate with the government to ensure uninterrupted power for irrigation.
The Centre for Policy Dialogue executive director, Mustafizur Rahman, said that the government had made the request to the industries because of an additional demand for 1,500MW power for boro irrigation for the duration.’




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