Energy and power

index_5474Dhaka, 29th October 2016. Today twenty four labor, farmers and civil organizations organized a rally in front of national press club called for to reconsider the Bangladesh plan to increase coal dependency of present 4 % to 30 % in 2020 for energy is suicidal, they urged government to redirect present energy subsidy of $ 13 million toward renewable energy rather giving it to private companies for rental power plants. These civil society rights groups observing global month of “Reclaim Power 2016: Transforming to Renewable Energy and to Stop Climate Crisis”. The organizations are, On Line Knowledge Society, Aropon, Uddipan, Udayan Bangladesh, Unnayan Dhara Trust, SDO, COAST,EquityBD, JatiyaKishaniSromikSomiti, Jatiya Sromik Jote, Dak Die Jai, Dacop, Dwip Unnayan Sangsta, Nolcity Model Society, Pirojpur Gono Unnayan Somity, Prantajon, PSI Bangladesh, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Bangladesh Bumihin Somiti, Bangladesh Agriculture Farm Federation, Labor Resource Centre, Sangkapla Trust and CDP. The rally was moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akhanda of COAST. Speakers of the rally were, Subal Das of Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Syed Amiul Haque of EquityBD and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD.
The group in their position paper, give eight proposal in this regard to the government, which are (i) 63 % of grid power deepened on gas supply, the gas reserve will be depleted by the year 2023, so from now government must explore new source of energy especially in renewable energy, (ii) government must reconsider its plan of present 4 % dependency on coal to generate power and up to 30 % by 2020, as it will be suicidal for environment, (iii) 30 % of gird power production is dependent on fossil fuel, which costing subsidy around $ 13 million, the subsidy must redirect to renewable energy, (iv) government committed to go for 1.5 C for global temperature, so government must go for de-carbonization in energy sector, (v) government must invest to produce power / energy from cow dunk, jute stick, urban waste, paddy waste and rice barn etc., (vi) Government must ban transparent and energy bulb and promote led bulb, (vii) government must ensure that all the building construction must following building codes, so that there are enough space for natural light and wind, (vii) there must be a condition of 20 % renewable or solar energy source in all building construction, and (viii) there are potentialities to produce per square meter 4 to 6 KW of electricity from solar power, so government must invest or provide subsidy in this regard like India.
Sayed Aminul Haque of EquityBD said, government claim success of solar home installation, but there are hardly any government subsidies, this has happened due to people interest, he said that government annual subsidy of $ 13 million targeted toward rich people indeed. Subal Sarkar of Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity mentioned that, if government will go for Rampal coal based power plant causing Sundarban the world heritage then it will tarnish national image and hamper climate finance from abroad. Mostafa Kamal Akhanda of COAST said that World Bank maintain double standard, while they promise for clean energy but they are financing coal based power plant in Rampal. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD said that, government consults their energy policy with people.

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Index_2153Dhaka, 16th October 2014: Today thirteen right based civil society organizations led by EquityBD has organized a human chain and rally in front of the National Press Club, Dhaka demanding Government must redirect subsidy to the community-controlled renewable energy sources instead of huge subsidy to fossil fuel projects which are mainly responsible for carbon emission and threatening earth’s existence.

The rally and human chain is organized as a part of the global week of action titled ‘Reclaim Power’. Mustafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD moderates the speech session of the human chain while the other speakers were Dr Mejbah Uddin Ahmed of Jatiya Sromik Jote, Badurl Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Prodip Kumar Roy of Online Knowledge Society and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD.

The thirteen organizations are Online Knowledge Society, Unnayan Dhara Trust, LRC, Asow Foundation, Community Development Partnership, CLEAN, Nobodahara Bangladesh, Bangladesh Adivasi Somity, Bangladesh Kishani Shova, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Bangladesh Bumihin Somity, Bangladesh Jatiya Sromik Jote, BAFLF, and VOICE.

Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD reads out the position paper where there are four specific demands, (i) Stop projects using dirty energy and increasing carbon emissions, (ii) Stop public subsidy to the companies using dirty fossil fuel based energy e.g. Government of Bangladesh spending huge public money for paying the tax of US company Shevorn, (iii) Elite class and corporations must stop their habit of over consumption of fossil fuel, and (iv) Government must redirect subsidy to promote community controlled renewable energy sources.

Dr Mejbah Uddin Ahmed of Jatiya Sromik Jote said that government is being more and more dependent on foreign companies for generating electricity and they are using dirty energy, which, in fact, is a clear threat to the existence of this earth.

Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation said that, we should not think that there are no alternatives of fossil fuel for producing energy. There are successful examples.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD said that, government in fact is promoting new group of rich elite class by providing public subsidy to promote fossil fuel based private companies. But there are examples in the rural areas people already started using solar and renewable energy without any government subsidy. Government must redirect subsidy on those renewable energy sources.

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Dhaka, 4th July 2010. Today in an opinion sharing meeting held at press club, organized by different network of rights group criticized government policy that have created space of investment for the private sector, foreign companies in power sector. They mentioned that in view of other Asian country experiences it may create more public debts and increase disparity in society. The meeting was jointly organized by Action Aid, EquityBD, Jubilee South, SUPRO, MFTD, Unnayan Onneshan and VOICE. Ms. Lidy Nacpil of Jubilee South narrated her experience from Philippines, and Sayed Aminul Haque of EquityBD gave analysis on Bangladesh situation in this regard. The meeting was moderated by Rashed Al Titumir of Unnayan Onneshan, while Md. Shamsuddoha of EquityBD, Faruque Ahmed from MFTD and Farjana Akther of VOICE also spoke in the occasion.

Ms. Lidy Nacpil of Jubilee South said that now a day electricity becomes the basic public necessity in development, thus it has become a public right. But the international financial institutions like World Bank and Asian Development Bank pressurized the Philippine and other Asian Governments to leave this sector for private sector investment including to the foreign companies. In this context, government is assuring different guarantees to them, including the guarantee of foreign exchange and power purchase, Thus the rate has commercialized in such a way that the government and the general public has to pay much in this regard, e.g., each one of Pilipino has to pay 40 % more of electricity bills that they are not using. She also mentioned that in fact now it is creating poverty in one hand and in other hand it is creating public debt too.

Sayed Aminul Haque of EquityBD said, so far the Government of Bangladesh gave around US $ 3.13 billion subsidy in electricity and fuel, which could have been invested in public sector for power generation of around 14,000 megawatts. Still government is indebted to the World Bank and ADB around US $ 700 millions which was given for power sector reform, in fact the WB loan has paved the passage of private sector investment and created the present crisis.

In his concluding remark Rashed Al Titumir mentioned that the World Bank review report on public private partnership (PPP) revealed that apart from all the efforts there are only 16 % response from private sector for power generation in India. So, government plan and dependency on PPP for power generation might lead the country to another disaster. He advised the government to launch public bond in this regard. He also mentioned that, in fact it is not the private sector; it is only the public sector is bound to look at the remote rural areas to minimize disparity and inequalities to lead poverty eradication. He urged for total public investment planning in electricity generation sector for people’s right on electricity and all above for “energy sovereignty”.

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