Every house of Bangladesh is now illuminated: PM

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Patuakhali, March 21: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said every house of the country now came under electrification as she announced cent percent electricity coverage with inaugurating 1,320 MW Payra Thermal Power Plant, the largest of its kind.

“This is the biggest thing that we have been able to light houses of every people,” she said at a function here.

With opening the coal-fired Payra thermal power plant with eco-friendly Ultra-Supercritical Technology, Bangladesh has achieved another milestone implementing the government’s pledge to bring 100 percent people under electricity coverage by “Mujib Borsho” which is going to end on March 31.

The prime minister called the March a month of achievement of Bangalees, saying that her government has been able to open the power plant at this month while the nation is observing the “Mujib Borsho” marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of the country’s Independence.

She said through inaugurating the power plant today, the journey towards light has started.

The premier said that the power plant is the gift for the nation ahead of the holy Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr.

Sheikh Hasina thanked the Chinese president and the prime minister for their cooperation in setting up the Payra power plant.

The prime minister, in person, visited the district for the first time to open the power plant built here since Bangladesh likewise the world has been rattled with the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.

The Payra power plant was built on 1000 acres of land at a cost of 2.48 billion US dollar beside the Ramnabad River at Kalapara Upazila of the southern Patuakhali district and Bangladesh has become 13th country among the world in using the ultra supercritical technology in producing power.

The first 660 MW unit of the power plant went into commercial operation in May, 2020, utilising the 400 kv Payra-Gopalganj Power Transmission while the second one started operation in December 2021.

Apart from the 1320MW thermal power plant, construction work of another power plant is underway while the government has also a plan to build another 1320MW power plant and a solar system power plant in Payra.

The Payra Thermal Power Plant was developed by Bangladesh China Power Company Limited (BCPCL), a 50:50 joint venture between the China National Machinery
Import and Export Corporation (CMC) and Bangladesh’s state-owned North-West Power Generation Company Ltd (NWPGCL).

Bangladesh-China Power Company (Pvt.) Limited and Consortium of NEPC & CECC signed the EPC contract on 29 March, 2016 to implement the Payra 1320 MW Thermal Power Plant Project in the fastest possible time.

Bangladesh is now ahead of India and Pakistan, among the South Asian countries that have brought 98 per cent and 74 per cent of their population under the electricity network, according to data from the World Bank.

The power generation capacity has rocketed to 25,514 MW in February 2022 from 4,942 MW in January, 2009. Of them, 1160 MW electricity is being imported and 19,626 MW is being locally produced.

In 2009, only 47 percent of the population had access to power. Per capita power generation has increased from 220 kWh to 560 kWh and distribution losses of electricity have been reduced by 5.85%.

Electricity has been provided to the local chars Sonarampur, Ashuganj, Rangabali, Monpura, Sandwip, Hatia, Nijhum Island and Kutubdia through submersible cables.

The prime minister released 1320 pigeons, the symbol of peace, after unveiling the nameplate of the 1320MW power plant and went round the centralcontrol room of the plant.

Earlier, a guard of honour was given to the premier on her arrival at the helipad adjoining the Payra Thermal Power Plant.

Later, 200 fishermen boats decorated with various colours welcomed Sheikh Hasina by waving flags and playing songs as soon as the prime minister arrived at the coal jetty.

A festive mood has been prevailing in the areas from the tourism spot Kuakata to the Payra power plant and their neighborhoods which get facelift with various eye-catching things.

PM’s Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Adviser Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, Secretary of the Power Division of the ministry Md. Habibur Rahman, and Ambassador of China to Bangladesh, Li Jiming, spoke on the occasion.

Director General (DG) of BCPCL Engineer AM Khurshedul Alam gave the welcome address.

An audio-video presentation on the progress of the power sector and the Payra Thermal Power Plant was also screened on the occasion.

The ministry presented the prime minister a memento while a song titled “O jonaki ki shukkhe oi dana duti melechho(On what ecstasy, oh fire fly, spread up your’ s those twin wings)” dedicated to Sheikh Hasina was played.

Sheikh Hasina said the people had been suffering from acute power crisis before the Awami League government assumed power in 1996.

Due to her government’s tireless efforts for four years in their first term in office, she said the power generation had increased to 4300 MW from 1500 MW during the tenure of BNP-Jamaat alliance government.

The prime minister said after 2001, the country had again fallen in acute power crisis as the power generation was reduced to 3200 MW from 4300 MW.

Following assumption power for the second time in 2009, she said her government has been running the country for the last 13 years and has been able to take the country on the highway of development.

The prime minister said, “We have transformed Bangladesh into a developing nation from the least developed country confronting all the hurdles”.

She said her government has been managed to reach power to every house of the remote hilly and hard-to-reach areas by setting up solar panels and char areas by submersible cables.

Describing the power is the driving force for the development, the premier said the government has been working untiringly for the last 13 years for the overall development of the power sector.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is no more dependent on others in setting up power plants as local experts can use their experiences and expertise gathered after installing power plants in joint collaboration.

She said she has wanted to take country forward with the united efforts of all to make Bangladesh a developed and prosperous nation as envisioned by the Father of the Nation.

Bangladesh has reached such a position in terms of development that none can push the country backward, she opined.

The prime minister called upon the youths to work for generating employments for others instead of running after jobs utilising the scopes created by the government.

Sheikh Hasina said once upon a time, the Joy Bangla slogan was banned which now becomes a national slogan.

Attempts have also been made to erase the name of Bangabandhu from the history, she said, adding that none could be able to do so in the future.

Mentioning that Bangladesh has now achieved sufficiency in food production, the prime minister called upon all to bring every inch of land under cultivation.

She said her government had been setting up 100 economic zones to generate employment.

She also said that the government has built numerous roads and bridges in the southern region of the country, which was always neglected.

Sheikh Hasina said that the government is providing home and land to the homeless and landless people through Ashrayan Project.

“Our target is to bring everyone under the housing scheme,” she said.