Thursday, 6 October, 2022

Strictly enforce power austerity measures

Strictly enforce power austerity measures

In our country, a good number of banks embraced evening banking since the service rolled out in 2012. The evening banking service is usually given between 6:00pm and 8:00pm especially in the commercial and industrial zones and its clients are mainly the members of the business community. However, Bangladesh Bank (BB), in a significant move on Tuesday, asked the banks to suspend their evening banking operation in order to reduce electricity consumption as part of the government's austerity measures during this crisis moment. The lenders will have to keep their operations suspended until further order to be issued in this regard.

Earlier, the central bank instructed all banks to provide customer services from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm in line with new office hours in an effort to save electricity. For the same purpose, the government implemented its work-from-home policy. It has also asked people to finish social and cultural functions like marriage ceremonies and other parties early and close marketing and shopping malls by 8:00pm. As per press reports, the state minister for power, energy and mineral resources made an announcement that shops and shopping malls will have electricity disconnected if they remain open after 8:00pm.

The power department was supposed to strictly monitor enforcement of the directive. But, in reality, we tend to observe the reverse due to alleged lax monitoring on the part of the law enforcers and government agencies. Despite publicity to abide by the instruction, people in general seldom paid heed to it. Shops and shopping malls still remain open after the stipulated time. Even social functions are seen to linger for longer hours. On many occasions, buildings and markets are illuminated ignoring the directives of the relevant ministry. Such defiance ultimately worsens the power crisis hampering the government goal of saving power.

The power department must strictly monitor the day-to-day situation; it should also conduct regular drives in the neighbourhoods as sternly as possible to enforce the official directive. Electricity connection of the rule flouters should be snapped at once. If needed, a provision of both fine and punishment should be introduced. A policy of zero tolerance should be followed to realise the government’s goal of improving the power situation; otherwise the official austerity measures would not yield any fruitful result.