Bangladesh polls: Power plays important role in power play of political parties


The promise of access to power to all is going to play an important role in the upcoming Bangladesh elections on December 30 with the two major political parties – Awami League (AL) and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) committing to the ongoing big power projects in the country.

The incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League has promised to provide access to electricity to every household in the country within the next five years if they are voted to power again. The party’s election manifesto for the national election of 2018 has declared. Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist party has also committed to continue all ongoing big projects in power sector.

Awami League has said in their manifesto hat they will ensure energy security for every Bangladeshi while ensuring rational use of the coal. Party chief Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina read out the 21-point polls manifesto at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka on Tuesday.

According to the manifesto, Awami League committed itself to work full throttle to achieve their goals in the energy sector. The party has set their target to generate as much as 28,000 MW of power by 2023 along with 23,000 km long transmission line, says their manifesto. They will ensure electricity for everyone by 2020. By the year of 2023, Awami League has promised to install 500,000 km of distribution line in the country. The party will also develop ‘energy hubs’ in Maheshkhali, Matarbari area and another one in Payra, Patuakhali.

Till 2023 the party intends to keep up its LNG import project that will ensure supply of 5,000 million cubic feet of LNG gas to the country. The party vowed to intensify the exploration program of oil and gas in the offshore and onshore regions. The party will also install a 130 km India-Bangladesh friendship pipeline to ensure energy security of the country along with another 305 km pipeline from Chittagong to Dhaka.

AL also vowed to raise the refinery capacity of Eastern Refinery Ltd from 1,500,000 lac metric ton to 45 metric ton and the party will provide assistance to establish any private refineries.

BNP promises no hike in gas-electricity tariff for one year

Bangladesh Nationalist Party has promised to not to raise the price of gas and electricity for at least one year if they are voted to power. They will also form a task force to investigate the reasons for high costs involving quick rental power projects.

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced the manifesto at Gulshan’s Lakeshore Hotel on December 18.

According to the manifesto, BNP vowed to upgrade and repair all the inefficient and old power plants. They will also eventually lessen the country’s dependency on local gas and furnace oil. They will provide a permanent solution to the power crisis. The party also vowed to reduce the carbon-emission and promised to install environment-friendly power plants in the country in the future. BNP will promote renewable energy usage by utilizing solar energy, air, geothermal, sea-wave, biogas, waste and etc.

The party also promised that they will not halt any ongoing projects instead they will investigate if there is any corruption in the projects. However, they will also rethink and re-evaluate the projects that were taken into consideration in the last years of the current government.