By Sumi Khan
Dhaka, Jul 6 (IANS): Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that a "Bangalee nation never bows to anyone".
Referring to those who thought that Bangladesh means begging and grants, she replied on Tuesday, "We have proven that Bangladesh is the country that got liberation under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Bangalee nation never bows to anyone."
"Bangladesh will not beg to anyone; will advance on our own, we are trying to move forward like that, we have gained significant self-reliance economically," she claimed.
Turning to the opening of the Padma Bridge, she said that this one decision changed the attitude of the whole world regarding Bangladesh.
She said, "Padma Bridge is the expression of our independence, sovereignty and unique ethnicity. Bangladesh constructed the much-cherished bridge with its own resources."
"Those who wanted to malign Bangladesh, or humiliate me and my family members, minister, advisor and secretary through corruption allegations have got a befitting reply after we built the bridge with our own funds," she pointed out.
She said that her government has been able to reduce poverty and provide electricity to all houses. It is implementing projects to ensure no one remains homeless.
She said that her life has always been in grave risk. "Many leaders and activists sacrificed their lives to protect me by forming human shields," she said.
Talking about the recent economic turmoil across the globe due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, she said that the prices of fuel have soared. As a result, there is scarcity of power in many countries around the world, she said.
Meanwhile, load shedding continued across the country on Tuesday as consumers in many areas in the capital Dhaka and elsewhere experienced power cuts for several hours in a number of spells.
Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) said the country had to experience about 1400 MW of load shedding as it generated less than 13,000 MW against a demand of over 14,000 MW.
As a result, consumers in and outside the capital had to experience frequent interruption and load shedding, an official of the BPDB told IANS on Wednesday.
He attributed the fall in power generation to the shortage of gas supply to the power plants saying that the BPDB had to hold up generation of about 3400 MW of electricity despite having the capacity.
Sheikh Hasina said, the prices of electricity-producing products like diesel, fuel oil, LNG, have increased heavily.
The Prime Minister said the government has accomplished a feat by providing electricity to every house. In addition, she is thinking of introducing area-based load shedding for a specific time to save the fuel that is used for power generation.
Se said, "Today, I think that I will tell the authorities concerned to reduce electricity production for some time (everyday) to save the fuel that is used for power generation."
The prime minister said this at a function at the PGR Headquarters in Dhaka Cantonment to mark the President's Guard Regiment's (PGR) founding anniversary. She joined the programme from her official residence Ganabhaban.
The Prime Minister said there won't be any indiscriminate load shedding. It will be announced earlier for a specific area and for a specific time, she added.
She said, "If we specify the time for load shedding for specific areas... If we take that step from now on... we will be able to save ourselves from the much harder days coming ahead."
Besides, transportation has been hampered due to the Russia-Ukraine war compounding the crisis, she said. She added that even coal is not available.
Hasina reiterated her call to maintain austerity and increase savings which will be beneficial to face any type of crisis in the future.
She reiterated her call not to leave a single inch of land uncultivated and make sure no water body remains unutilised.
"If every family resorts to a pro-savings mentality and utilises their own lands for optimum productivity (of food grains), it will bring positive results," she said.
"All empty places have to be utilised for production, whatever it is. We have to try to produce our own food to reduce pressure on the market and make profit through selling the surplus foods," she urged. She said that every person, family and organisation have to take that step.
"I think, if we take this step then we will be able to save ourselves from the ongoing economic shock worldwide." She said that many countries, including the US and Britain are facing higher inflation amid scarcity of power.
"We have to remain alert from the very beginning, if we remain cautious, inshallah we will not face any problem," she asserted.
"I can say that and I will request everyone to do so."
Talking about the development of the armed forces following the Forces Goal 2030, the prime minister said, "We will not fight with any one, we want peace, the father of the nation gave us the defence policy which is friendship to all, malice to none. We follow that policy."
"But as an independent country we have to ensure all sorts of preparations, especially build the organisations that are the symbols of the independence and sovereignty. We have taken steps for that and are implementing those," she said.
Talking about flood in the Sylhet region, she said that the flood water is coming downstream and now it is in the middle region of the country. "It will gradually flow down to the southern region where vast areas may be inundated. It takes time for flood water to recede while the water level of the sea rises one inch," she said.
She also said that any calamity can come anytime and the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibar Rahman taught the nation how to face that. "We are tackling that calamity following his footsteps," she said.
The Prime Minsiter called for going all out for crop cultivation after the flood recedes. It must be ensured that no food shortage occurs.
"We have attained the status of a developing nation and we have to go farther. We have adopted plans like Delta Plan 2100 for a better future for the next generations," she said.
She urged all to follow the Covid-19 safety measures as the infections are increasing.