Tuesday, January 28, 2020 | ePaper

Discontent grows over power tariff hike move

Mass signature campaign begins in city

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Different civic bodies launched a mass signature campaign protesting the proposed power tariff hike in front of the Jatiya Press Club in the capital on Saturday.

Staff Reporter :
Different civic bodies and socio-political organizations on Saturday launched a signature campaign in the city and elsewhere across the country, protesting the government's move to increase power tariff.
They are collecting signatures from the public against the move. And the campaign will also be held in different parts of the country till December 13, according to the statement.
 In Dhaka, Bangladesh Mobile Phone Consumers Association (BMPCA) organized a similar campaign in front of the Jatiya Press Club in the capital.
Hundreds of people from all walks of life were spotted taking part in the campaign, which started at 10:30 am yesterday.
So far 1,735 people participated in the mass signature collection programme till 2:00pm, said a statement issued by the BMPCA.
Earlier, the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) held public hearing sessions in response to the tariff hike proposals from the state-owned companies.
The state-run power distribution companies have also placed their plea demanding retail tariff hike of power in line with Power Development Board's (PDB's) proposal of bulk tariff hike.
PDB proposed to raise the bulk tariff of electricity by 23.28 per cent from next year to tackle massive financial deficit.
Currently, a unit of bulk electricity is priced at Tk 4.77. But the PDB wants to raise the tariff to Tk 5.88 per unit from January 1, 2020.
The BERC will make the decision on price hike within 90 days of the hearing.
Terming the proposed power tariff hike illogical and anti-people move, president of the association Mohiuddin Ahmed said, "We have started the mass signature campaign to protect the interest of common people."
Speaking on the occasion, the activists said the government has prepared to increase the power charges again to impose further burden on the people, who are already bearing the brunt of ever-rising utility bills and cost of living.
Even as the public are suffering with power cuts, the government was increasing the power charges.
The government was encouraging private power plants and harassing the poor and middle class people, they alleged.
They also threatened for tough agitation if the government does not roll back its power tariff hike move.  
PDB and six other state-run power distribution companies wrote to the BERC between October 15 and 23, proposing another power tariff hike. Most of these companies cited "income deficit" as the reason behind wanting to raise the tariff.

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