Hundred percent villages have been brought under power supply coverage in the On-grid area of Rangpur division bringing a landmark change in living standard, rural economy and lifestyle of rural people, reports BSS.
Officials of Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB) on Thursday told BSS that all 9,298 targeted villages in 514 unions in the On-grid area were brought under 100 percent power supply networks in 55 upazilas of the division by Jul 31 last year.
“We are working to bring other 118 remote char villages in the Off-grid area, selected anew, under 100 percent electricity coverage by March next,” Superintending Engineer at BREB’s Rangpur Zonal Office Engineer AB Mahmud Hossain said.
The 118 char villages in Off-grid area are situated in riverine areas of Kurigram and Gaibandha districts where around 300 kilometres, out of total 1,184 kilometres, of power supply lines have already been constructed as the works are running fast.
“The process of establishing submarine cables under riverbeds continues to connect the power supply lines in char areas of Off-grid area with the electricity supply networks in the On-gird area through the submarine cables,” Engineer Hossain said.
Eight Palli Bidyut Samities of BREB in the zone are working to make the ‘Electricity for All’, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s one of the 10 special initiatives, a complete success in the Mujib Barsho by bringing rest houses in char areas under electricity coverage.
“We constructed 4.34 lakh kilometre new power transmission and distribution lines, 134 sub-stations and other infrastructures in the last 12 years from 2009 to 2020 in Rangpur zone,” Engineer Hossain said.
“During the same period, we provided 27.80 lakh of different types of power connections covering 26.57 lakh beneficiary families in rural areas of Rangpur division,” he said.
Earlier in last 30-year period from 1978 to 2008, BREB constructed only 24,610 kilometre power transmission and distribution lines, 60 sub-stations and other infrastructures in Rangpur zone
During the same period, BREB provided 6.23 lakh residential, industrial and other categories of electricity connections benefiting 5.38 lakh families in rural areas of Rangpur zone.
Currently, the capacity of connection stands at 33.32 lakh and total number of provided power connections is 33.30 lakh in the division where a total number of 42.96 lakh families living in both the On-grid and Off-grid areas.
The provided power connections include 30.54 lakh residential, 1.90 lakh commercial, 43,552 charitable institutions, 29,299 small and medium scale and cottage industries, 712 large
industries, 86,633 irrigation pumps, 835 streets lights and 372 other connections.
Taking advantage of rural electrification, entrepreneurs have established 3.34 lakh power-run cottage and small and medium enterprises, agri- based and heavy industries while farmers are operating irrigation pumps in rural areas.
“The power-run enterprises and industries are booming fast creating jobs for youths to cut poverty and improve living standard of rural people boosting rural economy even in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” Engineer Hossain added.
Talking to BSS today, Divisional Commissioner Abdul Wahhab Bhuiyan lauded the enormous success achieved by BREB in bringing 100 percent villages in the On-gird area under electricity coverage in the last 12 years across Rangpur division.
“As a result, a revolutionary change has taken place in flourishing cottage, small and medium scale enterprises improving rural economy and economic vulnerability index and creating a stronger footage for turning every village into a town,” he added.
Talking to BSS, Shudha Ranjan of village Matiyapara in Rangpur Sadar said he has changed his life after setting up a welding workshop at Chandanpat Bazar for welding works using electricity nine years ago.
“Now, I earn Taka 15,000 to Taka 20,000 a month to meet all demands of my family members and lead a solvent life,” said a happy Ranjan.
Anwarul Islam of the same village also set up a welding workshop at Chandanpat Bazar for welding works using electricity seven years ago.
“Currently, I earn Taka 20,000 a month after paying monthly electricity bills to lead a better life even during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.