Cabinet okays new electricity law with tougher provisions


Dhaka, July 31: The cabinet with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair today gave final approval to the draft of Biddut Ain, 2017′ with tougher provisions against sabotage, destruction of the power infrastructure and illegal practices of pilferage.“The draft proposed for minimum seven years and maximum 10 years of imprisonment and highest penalty of Taka 10 crore or both for any sabotage or destruction in any electricity infrastructure or damage to power stations, sub-stations, power lines, poles and equipments,” Cabinet Secretary M Shafiul Alam told a media briefing after the meeting.

He said the new electricity law proposed introduction of independent system operator (ISO) to operate the country’s power system in a coordinated manner as well as ensuring better load management.

Monday’s cabinet meeting, he said, said also approved four other proposed laws in its weekly meeting at Bangladesh Secretariat.

The other drafts to get the cabinet approval were Defense Forces Chiefs’ (appointment, salary, allowances and other benefits) Act, 2017, Hindu religious Welfare Trust Act, 2017, Buddha Religious Welfare Trust act, 2017 and Christian Religious Welfare Trust, 2017.

Alam said the cabinet alongside the proposed laws the cabinet today gave its nod nod to a proposal for ratification of the Visa Waiver Agreement between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka proposing waiving visa requirements for government and diplomatic passport holders.

The agreement was signed during Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent Bangladesh visit.

The cabinet, he said, also approved a proposal for classifying the National safe Food Day in ‘Ga’ list of the Cabinet Division for observing the day on February 2 every year.

Alam said the new electricity law would replace the original Electricity Act framed in 1910 and will bar PDB, DESCO and DESA to set up new lines or conduct any public works in their jurisdiction without informing concerned higher authorities.

The law also proposed tougher punitive actions for committing any offence or wrongdoing by the officials and employees of the power sector like giving illegal connection or doing any faulty works.

“YThe law proposed In general that any employee for involvement in any offence will get six months imprisonment and penalty of of Taka 10 thousand or both,” he said.

According to the Defense Forces Chiefs’ (appointment, salary, allowances and other benefits) Act, 2017, the chiefs of army, navy and air force would be appointed for maximum four-year tenure from the date of their appointment.

“As per the new proposal, salary of the chiefs of the services has been fixed at Taka 86,000. (However) they will get other allowances, outfit allowance, special residential facilities and all-time transport facilities plus other facilities like civil servants,” he said.

Source: BSS