Bangladesh is close to connecting and supplying electricity to all its population. Every household will come under electricity facility by Dec 21, 2021 to coincide with the celebration of the 100th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of the nation.
Through this an important constitutional pledge of the government will also be fulfilled. The constitution of Bangladesh enacted in 1972 has entrusted the government with the responsibility of bringing all the people of the country under the electricity facility.
Official sources confirmed that the entire country will be connected to the national power grid by December, except for some remote areas isolated from the mainland and surrounded by mountains and forests. And work is also going on so that the remote areas can be illuminated with electricity during the ‘Mujib Barsho’.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid said, “In 1996, restructuring the fragile power sector was a challenging issue for the Awami League government.”
He continued, “Then the government ensured the participation of the private companies in power sector. Then after Jamaat-BNP government assumed administration again in 2000, it pushed the power sector into darkness. As a result, the country has lagged behind for 50 years. At that time there was a procession in the streets for load shedding. In 2009 election manifesto, the Awami League pledged to provide electricity to all households by 2021. We have already connected 99 percent of the households with grid electricity. Hopefully, it will be possible to supply electricity to 100 percent of the people by next March.”
The minister also said, “In the last few years, people's lives have changed as they have better access to electricity. There is no shortage of electricity now. Rather there is a surplus. And it has been possible due to the real-time sustainable planning and initiatives undertaken by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.”
Nasrul Hamid said that the demand for living of rural people is not high. Generally, they do not wish luxury like many urban people wish. They just want simple ordinary life. The rural womenfolk who once had to go to bed early, are now sewing ‘Katha’ (quilts) till late night because they have electricity. The shops and markets are open till midnight. Electricity has created new opportunities for people's income. The dream of digital Bangladesh has come true due to the supply of electricity.”
The country's economic growth has increased as a result of the supply of electricity. Along with the increase in industrial production, the lives of people in remote villages have also changed.
The battery-powered vehicles have made easier and cost effective for transportation in rural areas following continuous supply of electricity being available there. Business transactions are on the rise. The use of electricity in irrigation is increasing. Poultry and cattle farming have become more popular. The uses of electronics equipment for home appliance is also increasing.
With the development of internet and information technology, people in rural areas are getting more economic opportunities. The spread of education is accelerating. Primary health care has been able to reach people's doorsteps with the help of electricity. The light of electricity has not only liberated people from darkness, it is also freeing them from superstition. Economically self-sufficient.
Fulfillment of Constitutional Commitment: In the second part of the Constitution of Bangladesh, where the principles of governing the country are mentioned, Article 16 states: ‘The State shall adopt effective measures to bring about a radical transformation in the rural areas through the promotion of an agricultural revolution, the provision of rural electrification, the development of cottage and other industries, and the improvement of education, communications and public health, in those areas, so as progressively to remove the disparity in the standards of living between the urban and the rural areas’.
By including this pledge in the constitution made in 1972, Bangabandhu entrusted the responsibility of bringing the entire country under the electricity facility. Because he knew that electricity is the key to development as well as the key to a better life. And everyone knows that Bangabandhu took the development of Bangladesh and the establishment of a better life of the people as his only goal in his life.
Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB) Director Mohammad Anwar Hossain told Bangladesh Post, “We have already completed 100-percent electrification on our grid-connected areas, brining 99 percent households under electricity coverage in our distribution area.”
“We hope to bring rest of the places, located in remote areas, under electricity coverage within the ‘Mujib Year,” he added.
In 2009, the average power demand at the time was about 6,000MW while power generation capacity of the country was less than 5000MW. Eight to ten hours load-shedding in summer days was causing unbearable miseries. Now the installed capacity has increased to 23,777MW (with captive, imported and renewable power).
However, currently the daily demand for power is about 10,000 to 14,000MW. Bangladesh has now transformed from a power-shortage country into a power-surplus country.
The number of power plants rose to 140 from 27. The number of electricity users increased from 1 crore 8 lakh to 3 crore 89 lakh. The transmission and distribution system losses have been significantly reduced to 8.73 percent during the incumbent government’s tenure, from 14.33 percent.
“There has been a lot of improvement in power generation in the country. Our generation capacity surpasses our demand. At this moment the government must pay attention to the transmission and distribution system to ensure uninterrupted power supply,” energy expert Professor Izaj Hossain told Bangladesh Post.