Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday renewed her call to the people to be more economical in using electricity to repay the best of government's huge subsidy to power generation.
She simultaneously urged them to keep up the country’s existing pace of development with the long-term vision formulated by the government.
"Let not allow anyone to come to power again who will tie Bangladesh up in the chains of slavery," she said.
The premier made this call while inaugurating five power plants through a videoconferencing from her official Ganabhaban residence in the capital Sunday morning.
Addressing the function as the chief guest, Sheikh Hasina said, "The government has been providing a huge subsidy to power generation and that’s why you (people) are getting electricity at an affordable price . . . If you don't maintain austerity in using electricity, we can't continue this subsidy anymore."
She said both the solvency and purchasing power of people in rural areas have increased as they can now afford TV, refrigerator, and in many cases AC also. "Their capacity has raised gradually and it has grown even more … it's now our desire that there will be no disparity and people will get every facility."
In this connection, she said the people will have to develop the habit of austerity as there is no disgrace if they exercise the practice of putting
off the switch with their own hands after using electricity.
The Prime Minister also highlighted her government's long-term plans such as Perspective Plan, Vision-2041, and Delta Plan-2100 to turn Bangladesh into a developed country and hoped that generation to generation will take the country forward with this pace of uplift following the plans.
“Bangladesh is an independent country and it’ll continue its progress keeping the head high with esteem. So you (people) let not allow
anyone again to enchain you in slavery," she said.
Prime Minister's Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Affairs Adviser Dr.Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, Bir Bikram and State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid also spoke in the ceremony at Power Division,while Power Division's Secretary Md. Habibur Rahman highlighted the overall development of power sectors under the Awami League government.
Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus conducted the ceremony at Ganabhaban.
A documentary on the newly-built five power plants was screened at the ceremony.
The five power plants are 400-MW Combined Cycle Power Plant Bibiyana-3 in Habiganj, up-gradation of 150-MW Power Plant to 225-MW Combined Cycle Power Plant in Sylhet, 100-MW Power Plant Unit-2 at Zulda in Chattogram, 104-MW
Power Plant at Meghnaghat in Narayanganj and 100-MW Power Plant at Madhumoti in Bagerhat.
The Premier also unveiled the cover of a publication titled "100" on the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Talking about the huge production of power in Bangladesh, the Prime Minister said the transmission lines have to be set up alongside increasing the production to meet the demand. "So, we're constructing the transmission lines as well."
She said the government's main aim is to provide electricity extensively to rural areas so the scope of employment generation increases.
She continued, "The overall development of rural people is on top of our priority list and that's why we've given the highest importance to
communication and power lines."
Sheikh Hasina emphasized the importance of environment while taking up any development project.
"We must focus on the environment while taking up any project; we always should take protective measures before taking any step," she said.
Regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, she said the government is providing vaccines to people so that no one is left out of it, no matter what the cost is.
She reiterated her call to all to maintain the health guidelines even after taking vaccines.
The Premier said the development pace in the country has suffered a little setback due to the pandemic, but it was not halted rather the wheels of the country's economy are going on well compared to other countries across the world.
Referring to the remarks of Bangabandhu that none could suppress Bangalees, she said now Bangladesh does not require to seek assistance from anyone, rather the country is moving ahead with its own strength and implementing Mega projects like Padma Multipurpose Bridge with its own financing.
Sheikh Hasina said the then BNP-Jamaat alliance government didn't implement any new power plants; rather it had stopped implementation work of those projects undertaken by the Awami League government during its tenure in 1996-2001.
"Actually they (BNP) had established a realm of looting . . . even they killed people at Kansat in Chapainawabganj for seeking electricity, not only that they also killed people for demanding fertilizer, and it's their character," she said.
She went on saying that it was more irony that BNP not only set fires on the power plant in Kansat in 2013 but also killed the engineer of the plant through arson attack. "They don't give but take away lives of human beings-it's the reality," she noted, saying that people of Bangladesh forget that so quickly.
The Prime Minister said her government has diversified the power generation system and engaged the private sector in power generation
alongside the government.
Once rural electrification board (REB) used to transmit the electricity,but her government later involved it with power generation, she said.
Highlighting Bangabandhu's vision regarding electrification, Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu had understood that the fortune of rural people will not change if they don't get electricity and that is why he introduced the concept of rural electrification.
She also criticized the then military dictators and other governments for spreading false and motivated information against Bangabandhu even after his massive development works immediately after the independence.
The Premier said still some people or quarters are carrying out motivated propaganda against her, pretending not to see the massive development works of her government, "Although I don't care about it," she added.
She also mentioned that BNP had filed several cases against her although she had implemented pro-people development projects.