Published:  02:06 AM, 13 August 2017

Bangabandhu put priority on energy

Bangabandhu put priority on energy

Immediately after the independence Banga-bandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman attached the highest priority to the power and energy sector and started taking some major steps with effective policy measures. He also put the power and energy sector on one of his top agenda in his electoral speech on October 28, 1970, on the eve of the national election.

Setting electricity as the second vital area after flood protection, he said power generation and distribution should be increased voluminously and an extensive rural electrification program must be launched to take electricity to the villages so that small-scale industries can be established there.

Accordingly, the Father of the Nation in 1972 included electricity in the Constitution as a right for the people. The visionary leader also launched a milestone initiative for energy security with establishing the Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation (Petrobangla) in line with similar mission and vision of Petronas of Malaysia and Pertamina of Indonesia.
He set up primary gas distribution network in Dhaka city and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) in 1972. The BPDB started its operation with installed generation capacity of only 200 megawatts.

The Father of the Nation also set up major power generation unit at Ghorashal and Shahjibazar power plant with technical and financial cooperation from Russia. Bangabandhu's government acquired five major discovered gas fields including Titas, Habiganj, Bakhrabad, Rashidpoor and Koillashtilla from Shell BV Holland at a nominal price on August 9, 1975.

This historical deal opened a big way for meeting the energy needs of the newly independent country. Since the deal, 8.73 trillion cubic feet of gas has so far been produced from these five gas fields. These gas fields are still the backbone of the country's gas and energy sector.

Bangabandhu introduced the production sharing contract (PSC) under which six international oil companies (IOCs) were involved in oil and gas exploration from eight blocks in the Bay of Bengal. -BSS

-Syed Shukur Ali Shuvo

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