Power sector during BNP-Jamaat tenure: Ministers blamed each other for graft, Tarique was at the centre of corruption in name of setting up electric poles

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Published on November 1, 2022
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Power generation in Bangladesh declined to a great extent due to massive corruption in the five years since the BNP-Jamaat coalition came to power in 2001. The countrymen were fed up with 16 to 18 hours of load shedding every day. At one point, Iqbal Hasan Mahmud, State Minister for Power, was removed from office due to corruption. The new state minister Major (Retd.) Anwarul Kabir Talukdar publicly announced that the daily corruption during the previous minister's tenure devastated the power sector.

The Dainik Sangbabd published a report on July 30, 2006, about this issue with the comments of the ministers. The report said the anomalies of thousands of crores of taka in the power sector plunged the country into darkness for several months. Even teachers in schools and colleges had to take classes by lighting candles during the day. Farmers had to stop irrigation on their land due to lack of electricity, resulting in the disruption of crop production. Crimes increased at night. Amid the countrywide mass protests, the government had to sack the Minister of State for Power Iqbal Hasan Mahmud from office on May 21, 2006.

After taking charge as the new State Minister for Power, Major (Retd.) Anwarul Kabir Talukdar inspected the documents and said, “There were anomalies every day during the previous minister's tenure. Staff under the previous minister got involved in this corruption. Crores of taka have been embezzled daily in the name of power plant repair. But there is no account of the project. Thousands of crores of money have been looted and swindled.”

However, denying the allegation, the outgoing state minister Iqbal Hasan Mahmud said, “The new power minister was in the planning ministry earlier, and he could have addressed these irregularities if he wanted. He should know all the information about the ministry of electricity. He could have warned then. It is not right to say these things now.”

The accused state minister also said, “The aim was to work properly. But I could not do anything due to surrounding pressure and various complications.” Basically, the mass corruption in the power sector was run through the Hawa Bhaban syndicate under the instruction of Tarique Rahman. Also, Tarique Rahman embezzled TK 20 thousand crores in the name of setting up electric poles across the country. No one in the government would dare to interfere with Tarique’s work.