South Asia

Bangladesh to shut gas stations amid power crisis

File photo of Bangladeshis protesting over power shortages, 2006
Image caption Bangladesh has been suffering power problems for a number of years

The Bangladeshi government has ordered the partial shut-down of natural gas stations in and around the capital to counter a growing power crisis.

Filling stations in and around Dhaka will be closed for six hours a day from 16 August for about a month.

Bangladesh has been experiencing a power crisis that has affected households and businesses for the last few years.

Recently, authorities have announced various measures to tackle the crisis.

Earlier this year they ordered air conditioners to be switched off for five hours a day.

The gas filling stations supply to vehicles driven by compressed natural gas, and the government hopes that the gas saved will be used to increase electricity production in gas-fired power plants.

Protests

But it is not clear whether the move will help to address the country's worsening energy crisis, since it faces a daily shortfall of around 2,000 megawatts of electricity - or about one-third of its total requirement.

In recent days, people angry at the power cuts have blocked roads and ransacked local electricity offices.

The authorities are keen to maintain uninterrupted electricity supplies during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to avoid any further protests.

The government has also decided to shut all schools, madrassas and colleges for a month to ease traffic congestion during Ramadan.

Officials insist that they have taken steps to ease the power crisis in the long-term, but for now, their options seem to be limited.

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