Rental Power: Crores looted, no action taken
Amid protests from opposition lawmakers, a bill was passed in parliament yesterday to extend the tenure of a law that allows rental power plants for another five years.
The government said the deadline was being stretched for ensuring reliable, uninterrupted and affordable electricity across the country.
Objecting to the extension, opposition BNP and Jatiya Party MPs said massive corruption and looting was going on in the power sector.
Terming the bill "a black law", they added that there was no scope for raising questions about it. Thousands of crores of taka were looted, but no action was taken against anyone. The five-year term was being extended for the benefit of some people.
The lawmakers said the government was claiming that more electricity was being produced than the demand. So, why is it necessary to extend the tenure of quick rental power plants again? they said.
They alleged that the tenure of the law was being extended to give some people taxpayers' money.
However, the objections were rejected as the bill was finally passed by a voice vote.
While placing the bill titled "Quick Enhancement of Electricity and Energy Supply (Special Provision) (Amendment) 2021," State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid said the bill is aimed to extend the tenure of quick rental power plants by another five years till 2026.
The term for the existing law was going to expire next month.
On September 6, the cabinet approved the draft of the bill.
The tenure of the special provision, enacted in 2010, had earlier been extended several times.
Opposing the bill, Gonoforum MP Mokabbir Khan said the bill was brought to the House hurriedly. There was an ill intention behind it and that in no way, the bill should be passed. There was a terrible crisis of power in 2010. Now the crisis is over and there is no need for this bill, he added.
Jatiya Party lawmaker Mujibul Haque said he did not think there was any need to extend the tenure of the law.
He said the government needs to ensure power connection lines first. He said people of his area are not getting the benefit of generating so much electricity. There is no power in his area for five to six hours a day.
"People of my area cannot sleep in summer. People in my area were forced to go on strike. When people ask the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board authorities about the power outage, they failed to give any answer," he said.
Another JP lawmaker Shameem Haider Patwari said the law was enacted on a temporary basis. But the government was stretching its time for years.
He said the government was claiming that different places of the country have come under 100 percent electricity coverage. But by extending the tenure of this law, the government was admitting that there is a shortage of electricity production.
He too spoke about power cuts.
BNP MP Harunur Rashid said in 2010, there was a shortage of power. The deficit has been met with emergency measures. Then why is the government extending the tenure of the law for another five years?
Another BNP lawmaker Rumeen Farhana said the government admitted through the bill that there is a severe shortage of electricity in the country.
She claimed that the law was enacted giving impunity to the looters of public money.
BNP MP Musharraf Hossain also spoke about power cuts.
JP lawmaker Pir Fazlur Rahman said when there was less electricity production than the demand, there was a need for quick rental power plants. At this moment, the production is more than the demand. Therefore, why is it necessary to extend the tenure of costly quick rental power plants?
In reply, State Minister Nasrul said, "Many people don't understand the fact due to misinformation."
He said tenure of the law was going to be extended for ensuring reliable, uninterrupted and affordable electricity.