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Easy access to electricity

Remote people engaged in income generating activities

Published : 15 Jan 2023 04:30 PM

Khairul Islam, a potter in Charmontaj, Rangabali upazila, was found busy crafting earthen toys at night sitting at his small workplace illuminated with electric light.       

“I love working even up to mid-night . . . I could not imagine it earlier until the arrival of electricity, which brought us illumination at the flick of a switch,” said Khairul who crafts toys, especially earthen dolls, horses, elephants, peacocks and other fascinating items - all part of the country's rich cultural heritage.

“After getting electricity at my home, I have divided my working hours in two parts . . . in the morning I sell my products visiting home to home and in the evening I craft different pottery items as ,” said Khairul Islam, a 50-year old man who maintain a 5-member family.     

“Thanks to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for reaching electricity to our remote village,” he said.

During a visiting to at Rangabali it was found that villagers, majority of them are potter and fisherman, were happy as availability of electricity had made their life livelihood easy.

Talking to BSS, Mohammad Ali, a dry-fish trader, said earlier he could not process raw fishes at night for drying due to lack of electricity but now he keeps raw fishes at night for drying at daylight.

“Electricity appears as a blessing for us . . . now I work day and night, which was not possible earlier as there was no electricity even two or three years back,” he added.

 Last year, Bangladesh achieved another milestone as the government brought entire population under power coverage.

“Remote hill and char areas had no electric lighting as grid facility was not available there. But now the situation has been changed, supply lines have been installed crossing rivers and in some places submarine cables have been installed to supply electricity,” State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid told BSS.

“We’ve taken electricity supply lines to some far-remote areas like Rangabali in Patuakhali and Hatia and Nijhum Dip in Noakhali for ensuring electric lighting these,” he said.

He said some areas were too remote and out-grid facility, the government has given people of those areas solar electricity.

The initiative to supply electricity to every house has been taken at the order of  Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the occasion of MujibBarsha, the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

A ministry official said, the government undertook a crash programme in line with 'Sheikh Hasina's initiative-‘electricity in every house' project in 2016. Bangladesh Rural Electricity Board (BREB) also introduced ‘AlorFeriwala’ programme to ensure electricity connections in a short time.

Bangladesh has made impressive strides in the power sector in the last 14 years. Installed power generation capacity has rocketed to 25,730 megawatts from 4,942MW in 2009, while the maximum power production jumped to 14,782 MW (16 April-2022), up four-fold from 3,268MW 14 years ago, according to the power cell data.

Besides, the World Bank (WB) data showed that Bangladesh has the largest off-grid solar power programme in the world, which offers experiences and lessons for other countries to expand access to clean and affordable electricity. By harnessing solar power, the programme has enabled 20 million Bangladeshis to access electricity.

Power Cell director general Engineer Mohammad Hossain said that in 2009, only 47 per cent of the population had access to power.

“Bangladesh gets 911.42 megawatts electricity from renewable rouses and various initiatives have been taken to increase the stake of renewable energy sources. Research is underway on solar, wind, water and waste,” he added.

Earlier, M Tamim, an energy expert and a professor of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), termed the 100 percent coverage as a major milestone for the country, adding, “This is a good achievement.”

Nasrul Hamid said has moved for renewable energy, cutting reliance on fossil-fuel-based power generation in phases.

“The government has a plan to use 40 percent renewable energy of the country's total energy need by 2041,” he added.