Power cuts in EPZs stifle productionUnited News of Bangladesh . Dhaka
Factories in the export processing zones across the country have become crippled by frequent power outages, compelling them to face the risk of foregoing their work orders.
Referring to the government announcement saying that the EPZs would be kept outside of the 12-hour load-shedding schedule imposed upon the industrial units across the country during April and May, several company authorities with production units in the EPZs, complained that the power authorities did not seem to abide by the decision.
They said power outages were frequently occurring in the EPZs although neither Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority, BEPZA in short, nor Power Development Board served them with any notices on it.
Situation is extremely frustrating in three such industrial blocks, Ishwardi, Adamjee and Karnaphuli EPZs in particular, the investors said.
‘Every day for hours on machines are shut down in our factories because there is no electricity,’ said an investor, unwilling to be named, having factories in the Ishwardi EPZ.
‘Situation is compelling some of us even to cancel our export orders,’ he said.
Echoed him yet another investor in the Karnaphuli EPZ in Chittagong.
‘But as per our agreement with BEPZA, we’re guaranteed to get uninterrupted power supply round the hour,’ he said.
There are nine export processing zones in the country, of which eight are operated directly under the prime minister’s office. The rest is privately managed.
Investors said all the zones except the Dhaka EPZ were suffering from varying degrees of power failure.
BEPZA official Khan Aktaruzzaman, however, admitted power failure only in the Karnaphuli EPZ.
Saying that two power plants were set up in Dhaka and Chittagong EPZs to ensure uninterrupted power supply, he told the news agency that the step could not yet ensure continuous power supply to the Karnaphuli EPZ.
‘We’re trying to overcome the situation,’ he added.
General Manager of Ishwardi EPZ Mahmud Hasan admitted that the trouble was plaguing the zone for last one month.
‘PDB officials told us that problems in the transmission lines are causing the power failure,’ he said.
According to the data available, the units in the EPZs brought $9 billion in last three fiscals, while a target of $4 billion has been set for the current fiscal.
The EPZs production units currently employ around 319,000 workers.
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