Central & South Asia
Many injured in Bangladesh protests
Dozens hurt in police clash after demonstrating against frequent power outages.
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2010 08:56 GMT
Several policemen have been injured amidst violent protest over electricity shortage [Reuters]

At least 50 people have been injured in Bangladesh after protesters, angry over frequent power outage, clashed with police on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka.

The violent encounter broke out on Thursday when about 5,000 protesters swarmed a power station in Narayanganj town, Akhtar Hossain, a local police officer, said.

Hossain said the police used batons and tear gas to fight back protestors wielding iron rods and stones. Several police personnel were among the injured.

Residents of Narayanganj, an industrial hub, said they get electricity for less than six hours a day and have to depend on makeshift power generators.

'Unbearable' situation

"The situation is really unbearable," Mohammad Rafique, who runs a convenience shop in Narayanganj, said.

Demonstrations across the country over the blackouts a day earlier left at least 100 people injured and prompted protesters to vandalise power substations in Narayanganj in south Dhaka, Laxmipur and Shariatpur districts of Dhaka, Natore in north Bangladesh, and Sylhet in north eastern Bangladesh. 

The country has a daily shortfall of about 2,000 megawatts of electricity because of aging power plants, which results in frequent outages.

Bangladesh's government says private companies will build at least 20 plants by the end of next year, which would produce nearly 2,400 megawatts of electricity.

"The power supply will improve a lot when we will have the new plants in place," Abul Kalam Azad, a senior official at the government's power ministry, said.

Bangladesh's energy infrastructure is insufficient and poorly managed. The per capita energy consumption in Bangladesh is one of the lowest in the world.

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