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Monday, January 24, 2011

Freedom of expression & Darkness

Bangladesh Government stops power supply to National Press Club!

S. M. Anwar Hossain: Bangladesh Government stops power supply to National Press Club! The Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) on Thursday morning stopped supplying electricity to the National Press Club as bill and surcharges of above Tk 1,00,00,000 have been long overdue.

However the press club’s officials, in a statement, claimed that they had not paid the bills due to some complications although they have every intention to do so.

The newly elected president of the press club Kamal Uddin Sabuj, saying that the bills are disputed, told different national daily that as the club has been considered a commercial consumer since some years, its electricity bill rose 4-5 times higher than the previous charges.

He told that as the club is a non-profit organisation it is not able to pay the electricity bill at the commercial rate, and the problem was taken into account by the power secretary in 2008. He said that the club’s authority could not pay the dues as the matter was yet to be solved.The DPDC decision to snap the press club’s power connection was made only a day after the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court had scrapped the High Court order that had stayed the lower court injunction on the newly elected committee immediately after the announcement of club’s election results. The Appellate Division on Wednesday also asked to maintain status quo at the club’s administrative functions.

It also asked the lower court to dispose of by January 31 the petition filed by the aggrieved party challenging the election.

BNP lawmaker Mahbub Uddin Khokon, member of the parliamentary standing committee on power, energy and mineral resources, at a meeting
of the committee on Thursday afternoon demanded restoration of electricity supply to the National Press Club immediately.

In the meeting DPDC’s managing director Abdus Sobhan said that the company had cut off the electricity connection of the press club discussing the issue with the prime minister’s energy adviser, Towfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury.

Sobhan told that the press club has not paid any electricity bill for the last two and half years. He said that the amount of the bill that is now Tk 64,08,159 and surcharge Tk 43,25009. He said that the concerned division of the DPDC had issued three letters, requesting the press club’s authorities to pay the dues, and finally he himself had sent a letter on January 9, giving them 10 days to pay the overdue bills.

Why the national press club was considered as a commercial consumer by the authority while it is a non profit organization? Why the bills were not settled despite sending letters many times? Why just after the press club election, while a new committee has taken the chair by the court verdict, immediately the authority has to disconnect the power supply? Why Prime Ministers Adviser has to involved regarding the power disconnection? Is this in his jurisdiction? Is this his job as a prime ministers energy adviser?

The answer is well known to all! Even though i explore again for my readers; -Government supported panel could not win the election of the press club! Then they sue about the election to the court and loose finally by a court verdict!

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