If regular power supply remains one of the key conditions for industries to run smoothly, Bogura, the major industrial hub in the entire northern part of the country, is being deprived of it. Most industrial units operating there have been suffering heavily either for frequent power outages or for low-voltage. Load-shedding is quite an old problem and most factories have learnt to live with it. But what has lately surfaced as an additional problem is the low-voltage. According to a recent newspaper report, the wheels of around 20 thousand factories in the district have almost come to a standstill because of power disruption. Even the refrigerators, televisions and air-conditioners are getting damaged due to erratic power supply. But, regrettably, the authorities concerned are not serious about resolving the problem. When approached, they have made it clear that the problem is unlikely to be solved during the ongoing summer season.
According to the owners of small and cottage industries in Bogura, around 100 factories are located in the industrial estate run by the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC). But most small and medium industrial units are located outside the BSCIC estate. Their number is estimated to be several thousand and all of them are electricity-run. Production of a good number of jute mills is being seriously hampered and over five thousand poultry farms-cum-hatcheries are facing losses due to erratic supply of power.
Now, what surprises the sufferers most is the complete indifference of the relevant authorities to addressing the plight of these industrialists in Bogura. The onus, firstly, lies with the Power Development Board (PDB), the agency that very often tries to take credit for being successful in generating a 'record' volume of electricity. Should it not compare its failure to address even in one month's time the problem of low-voltage in an important industrial location? Next in line is the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB), the agency tasked with the job of ensuring regular power transmission. The district administration also cannot shy away from its coordinating role at the local level. At the centre, the Ministry of Industries as well as the Power Division also cannot forfeit their supervisory responsibility in resolving such an important problem. But they also appear to be either unaware or uncaring about the problem.
Non-availability or irregular and erratic supply of power have often been identified by the business community in the country as one of the biggest challenges confronting the industrial sector in Bangladesh. But despite loud claims about raising electricity production to record levels, the situation on the ground still remains precarious due to faults and inadequacies in transmission cum distribution lines. Mere increases in generation do not make any sense if electricity cannot be utilised properly due to faulty transmission or distribution lines. Therefore, the government should pay due attention to improve the transmission and distribution facilities side by side with efforts to boost power generation. The government has taken up a number of projects to improve both transmission and generation of power. Expeditious execution of these projects needs to be ensured.
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