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Let’s not allow the serpent to bite us

Maksud Ibna Rahaman
28 Nov 2022 00:00:00 | Update: 28 Nov 2022 09:52:42
Let’s not allow the serpent to bite us

In one of his noted dramas ‘As You Like It’ Shakespeare said ‘all the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances’. The world famous playwright compared the world to that of a stage where we human beings are players. We play our parts and when the cold hands of death embrace us we depart and we are heard no more.

Similarly, there are dramas being staged all around us. Shakespeare viewed it placing it on a broader canvas and we see them every day on a much smaller canvas. Of the many, we have here a stage of public hearing where Bangladesh Electricity Regulatory Commission better known as BERC is the key player that holds a public hearing before any power tariff hike. The audience knows the end of the drama but still they enjoy it to the end only to see how it ends. Every time the drama is staged before an audience but in this particular case the audience should rather be called victims as players are always in agreement with each other unlike the original dramas.

After the drama is over those who take part in the public hearing just shake their heads and go back home waiting to spend more after the hiked price of power comes into effect. This time too the same drama was staged only a few days back in the name of public hearing. The bulk electricity price was hiked after the drama. Yes, the drama was tragic indeed! But more tragic was the fact that there was another drama unfolded after the original one.

People were told that they would not suffer as the price hike wouldn’t affect their lives and livelihood as it was not going to increase at retail or consumer level. The audience believed in the words and they still believe it because the price is yet to be hiked at consumer level. And it is the fatal flaw in the characters of the audience or in other words in the characters of the victims. It is this fatal flaw that finally brings their doom.

They don’t even see the doom is nearing at a lightning speed. They keep waiting like Godot thinking that eventually it is not going to happen. As they keep thinking and taking the policy of wait-and-see it allows the Big Brother to devise a new plan. The new plan goes from bulk price hike to retail level price hike. We are being told that the 19.92 percent bulk price hike is not going to impact our lives.

Only the state-owned six distribution companies will be affected by the price hike. I don’t like to name those companies as my aim is not to fill my piece of writing with data and information that is what always make people lose their patience. Now, are the six state-owned power distribution companies going to eat the power they are going to buy from Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB)? Of course, they are not doing so.

The six state-owned power distribution companies will sell them to the end-level consumers. Even a lay person can understand it that finally it is the consumers who will bear the brunt of bulk power tariff hike. If the state incurs loss then those six power distribution companies will also count loss. How are they going to compensate? They will not surely give electricity to the retail level for the price less than the price they bought it for. So, it is just the opposite of the two sides of the same coin. Two or three of those power distribution companies have already submitted their proposal to increase power tariff at retail level. The chairman of one of those state-owned distribution companies said they proposed the same hike as was increased by the BERC. So, it is evident that the Power tariff will go up but not now. That’s what we were assured of.

But it will go up because BPDB loss and the losses of six power distribution companies have no difference because they all are the government agencies. Finally, it will increase the retail power price just after a pause in between to appease the masses. When there will be no more talk about it, no more murmur and no more hullabaloos the decision will be executed under the blanket of a dark night. Since darkness is the opportune moment to strike the death blow. The serpent is now hiding underneath the innocent flower ready to strike at the dead of night.

We don’t like to believe that we will be bitten to death by the serpent. We want to put our faith in what the government said soon after the decision to hike the price of bulk electricity. We don’t like to believe that the opposite of what the government said would happen. If not, people are going to lose their faith in what the high-ups in the government say and when it happens everything falls apart with people’s faith being shattered.

If we take it for granted that the power price will not go up then there is also another side of the coin and that is the third party what is best known as syndication. The government shouldn’t allow any third party to play in between. When there is a decision from the part of the government or any agencies of the government there are syndicates who manipulate the situation and hike the prices of essential items and products. Let not the serpent bite us and let not the third party come in between to play their part to mount sufferings of the people who are already half dead with the burden of soaring prices of essential items.

Again if the power price increases at the consumer level at this moment of critical juncture of the country it will certainly fuel the inflation as the distribution companies will finally pass the burden on to the end-level consumers deepening the crisis further.


The writer is a journalist.

He can be contacted at [email protected]