BNP on Wednesday threatened to wage a strong movement if the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2020 is passed in Parliament.
“The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission Bill-2020 which was placed in Parliament on Tuesday has manifested that the present government is not only an enemy of people but also a cruel and imprudent regime,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
He further said, “Passing this bill to increase the tariffs of electricity and fuel frequently in a year means to push the poor towards meeting the watery grave. We strongly condemn the bill. We urge the ruling party not to pass it in Parliament. Otherwise, we’ll be forced to launch a strong movement during this corona period.”
The BNP leader came up with the remarks at a virtual press briefing from the party’s Nayapaltan central office.
On Tuesday, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid placed the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in Parliament to empower the BERC to make any change in tariff more than once in every financial year.
Currently, the law permits BERC to make any change in tariff once in a financial year.
Rizvi said the government is trying to fill the empty coffers by collecting money from people through increasing the prices of electricity and fuel more than once a year.
“Even at this time of corona pandemic, they (govt) are collecting money exploiting and sucking the blood of jobless and incomeless people,” he alleged.
The BNP leader said the low-income people have been left in the lurch due to the harassment of the ghost electricity bills. “The country’s people will be pushed into a hell if the prices of electricity and fuel are frequently raised in every financial year.”
He said the government has become desperate to realise money from people like a drug addict in this critical time of the country.
Rizvi criticised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for what he said making ‘indecent and untrue’ remarks in Parliament on Tuesday about BNP founder Ziaur Rahman involving him with the murder of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. “We denounce her comments in this regard.”
Harunur Rashid, BNP's MP from Chapainawabganj-3, on Tuesday said some media wrongly reported that he joined parliament wearing a 'Mujib coat', but it was a 'waistcoat'.
“I wore a blue colour waistcoat over Punjabi as many used to do it. There is nothing new. Why should I wear a Mujib coat being a BNP MP? " he told UNB amid controversy over his dress.
Harun said some media wrongly ran repots about his dress seeing him on television as reporters are now not allowed to cover the budget session due to coronavirus.
“I’s belittled me with such a report... it’s regrettable,” the MP said.
He said he was elected MP with BNP’s ticket and he believes in the ideology of Ziaur Rahman and the party he founded.
Earlier in the day, Harun demanded the removal of Health Minister Zahid Maleque and bringing competent and committed persons in key posts of the health sector to face the coronavirus situation.
He made the demand taking part in the general discussion on the proposed national budget for 2020-21 fiscal year in Parliament.
BNP on Tuesday alleged that the coronavirus infection is increasing at a geometric rate in Bangladesh due to the country’s poor testing capacity and the government’s failure to tackle the situation.
“People have to endure immense sufferings to undergo coronavirus tests for lack of necessary testing facilities. So, thousands of people with the virus symptoms are roaming around, contributing to the rise in infections at a geometric rate," said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
He came up with the allegation at a virtual press briefing at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office.
The BNP leader said the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) is failing to enhance the testing capacity for lack of skilled manpower and suitable laboratories. “The lack of capability of the health directorate has become evident.”
Rizvi said the scarcity of sample collection equipment and test kits has taken a serious turn while people have to wait for a long time to receive their test reports.
He said samples collected from rural people have been piled up at the district headquarters labs. “As a result, a question has been raised about the acceptability of the test reports.”
Rizvi also said the real corona situation in the country cannot be assessed due to the poor testing capacity and authentic test reports.
Though three-and-a-half months have passed by since the detection of first three corona cases in the country, he said an anarchic situation has been prevailing everywhere only because of the government’s failure to contain the transmission of the deadly virus.
Rizvi said there is no specific policy of the government and central coordination to deal with the corona pandemic. “Thousands of people are now at the risk of death due to the government’s repeated wrong, suicidal and uncoordinated decisions and steps to contain the great disaster like Covid-19.”
He also said the government’s main focus is on indulging in ‘plundering and corruption’ instead of eliminating the virus.
BNP on Monday alleged that the government is realising 'ghost bills' of electricity and gas from people to fill the ‘empty' exchequer.
"The government is trying to fill the empty exchequer by putting knives in the throats of middle-class and low-income people… ghost electricity and gas bills have been imposed on people,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
He further said, “Not only that, threats are also being issued to cut off connections if the ghost bills are not paid by June. An inhumane evil quarter has been working to realise the abnormal electricity and gas bills.”
The BNP leader came up with the allegation while speaking at a virtual press briefing at the party’s Nayapaltan central office.
He said the government is putting people in further troubles with the ghost utility bills when they are going through a serious ordeal due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rizvi said the government has become desperate to "suck people’s blood" to make up the deficit of money as the public coffer has got ‘depilated’ due to ‘widespread plundering’.
He said many tenants are in fear of getting evicted by their landlords for their failure to pay house rents since they have lost their income sources.
“We’ve seen a number of kind landlords who have waived the rents of tenants amid the pandemic. But many landlords are behaving cruelly with their tenants. The landlords are also collecting extra money from the tenants in various ways saying that the government has increased the tariffs of electricity and gas,” Rizvi observed.
He said banks are realising the interests from the small traders and borrowers mercilessly, though the government has announced to waive it.
Rizvi also came down heavily on the government for its policy of borrowing huge money from the financial sector, including banks.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday alleged that the government is giving priority to ‘mega projects’ instead of the health sector amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The health sector is not there in their (govt) priority. Their only priority is to create mega projects and indulge in mega plundering as a grand festival of corruption is going on," he said.
The BNP leader came up with the allegation while virtually inaugurating a programme of Doctors’ Association of Bangladesh, a pro-BNP body of physicians.
He regretted that the government still did not approve the coronavirus testing kit developed by Gonoshasthaya Kendra only to continue corruption in the name of procuring kits.
“We should keep it in mind that the current government is a one-party and fascist one. A despotic regime never works for the welfare of people. Only a democratic government can tackle a pandemic like coronavirus,” Fakhrul observed.
He called upon their party leaders and activists to stand by people to save their lives and livelihoods and work for turning Bangladesh into a democratic country.
The BNP leader alleged that people are not getting treatment at hospitals as the health sector has collapsed.
He criticised the government for what he said having failed to ensure the safety of doctors and provide them with quality safety gears.
Fakhrul said their party earlier proposed keeping doctors who are engaged in coronavirus treatment at the big hospitals on health safety ground, but the government could not do it.
He alleged that the government is not providing people with authentic information about the fresh infections and deaths.
“Experts are saying correct information is necessary to tackle a corona-like pandemic. But they’re not giving people the right information.”
The BNP leader also said the country’s real corona picture still cannot be known due to the poor testing capacity.
Fakhrul said the government could have contained the outbreak of the virus had it taken prudent steps in consultation with all parties and stakeholders.
About the proposed budget for the next fiscal, he said the government did not frame the budget in the light of the current crisis and saving people’s lives and properly equipping the hospitals.
Fakhrul said people are now dyeing for lack of oxygen, ICUs and ventilators due to the government’s negligence.
The BNP leader said their party has been distributing relief materials among the poor and needy people as per the directives of their party chairperson and acting chairman.
He claimed they could reach around two crore people with their relief and financial assistance.