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Page added on September 29, 2006

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More energy riots – electrickery in Bangladesh

Two hundred people, including police, were injured in Bangladesh as more riots and demonstrations have erupted in protest against regular interruptions to electricity supplies.

The present events are a continuation of a long-running struggle in the country over unreliable energy supplies. Power cuts affect daily life in various important ways. Life in city slums becomes even more unbearable when denied basic air conditioning of domestic fans during sweltering, humid weather. Workers lose earnings when production stops in the factories. Domestic water supplies are affected as the reservoirs and distribution system are dependent on electricity. Consumers are charged a regular meter rental fee whether or not supply is maintained. (In effect, you pay for the mere possibility of receiving electricity.)
Farmers’ crop irrigation systems are also usually dependent on electrical pumps to draw the water from deep wells and bore holes. The effect of water shortages on rice crops have lead to fears of food shortages later in the year. Farmers fear economic ruin if the crops are lost.

The government claims that increased industrial demand is to blame for the power cuts and, as a token gesture, has announced its intention to turn off illuminated billboards and to restrict supplies to shopping malls.


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