REB issues circular declining to provide transformers for over 45KV load
Industry owners find it great impediment to SMEs development
Reported on: December 29, 2009 19:36 PM
Reported in: National
Dhaka, Dec 29 (UNB) - When the government emphasizes rapid development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the Rural Electrification Board (REB) has issued a circular declining to
provide transformers to SMEs for over 45KV electricity load.
According to sources in the SME industry, the REB issued a circular on November 18 last asking all its consumers, whose electricity load exceeds 45 kilovolt (KV), to install power transformers at their own cost.
The circular, signed by REB executive director Syed Musaddek Hossain, also asks its subsidiary organizations, Palli Bidyut Samities (PBSs), to double the present fare of the rented transformers from the present rate for the permanent or temporary connections.
But, the owners of cottage, small and medium industries have expressed concern at the REB circular saying that this would create a big impediment to development of their industries.
The REB, which is responsible for electricity distribution in the country’s rural areas, has about 57 subsidiary organizations or PBSs across the country.
Each PBS is constituted at upazila level or at district headquarters having one or two upazilas in its jurisdiction. The REB regulates these PBSs with its own staff. But each PBS has its own governing
body constituted by the local people elected from the electricity consumers to assist the local management.
After the issuance of the REB circular, the owners of cottage, small and medium industries have become worried about the future expansion of their industries. “Because REB used to supply its own transformers to the consumers who consume up to 75 KV of electricity,” said a REB
He said if now any owner of a cottage industry or of a small or medium industry wants to expand it consuming beyond 45 kV load of electricity, he or she has to spend a huge amount of money for
transformer installation,” said an REB consumer of Savar industrial area.
Echoing him, another owner of a small industry owner at Narayanganj told UNB that as per the new REB circular they will have to spend up to Tk 300,000 for setting up transformers to increase his industry load.
Demanding withdrawal of the circular, President of the National Association of Small and Cottage Industries of Bangladesh (NASCIB) Abdus Sobhan Liton said, “This will be really a great obstacle to the growth of the small industry sector.”
He said: “We don’t understand how the REB could issue such a destructive circular when the government is trying to keep up the growth of the cottage, small and medium industry sector.”
When the small industries have been struggling with gas crises, many of them are looking for enhanced use of electricity for their operation, Sobhan said.
“But now, this will totally discourage them to expand their industries because it will entail extra expenses for transformer purchase,” he added.
When contacted, REB chairman Shafiqul Islam Bhuiyan recognized the concern of the small industry owners saying that that it would create impediment to the growth of the industry. “But, we had to issue this circular because of fund crisis.”
“Interesting is that the REB in its circular also prescribed the names of the enlisted transformer sellers and asked the consumers to buy their transformers from those REB-enlisted vendors,” said another industry owner.
Sources in the REB said a section of top officials in the organisation has influenced the top management to issue such a circular who had been allegedly involved in “underhand dealings” with the vendor enlistment.