More than 150-200 workers of the power department are working relentlessly to resume power supply in the region, say officials
Power supply resumed in some areas of Sylhet city on Wednesday evening after being without electricity for more than 31 hours.
However, most parts of Sylhet district and its adjoining Moulvizabar, Sunamganj, and Habiganj are still experiencing an electricity outage after a fire broke out at the Kumargaon 150 MW Power Station of Sylhet Sadar upazila at around 11:30am on Tuesday.
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) Director (public relations) Saiful Hasan Chowdhury said: “Power supply resumed in parts of Sylhet city at around 5:45pm on Wednesday.
“Moreover, power supply to nearly half the city was restored by 8pm. But it may take more time for the situation to normalize,” he said, adding, “Electricity supply will increase gradually and reach the 100% coverage soon.”
He, however, did not mention any tentative time for a full resumption of power in the district and its adjacent areas as the problems now “are highly technical and may take quite some time to be fixed properly.”
The state-run power organization, he said, primarily estimated a loss of Tk8-10 crore caused by the fire.
“We have already sent necessary equipment worth Tk1.2 crore to Sylhet to help fix the problem,” the BPDB official added.
According to Saiful, three probe committees separately formed by BPDB, PGCB and the Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry are investigating the fire incident that has left no fewer than 300,000 people suffering since Tuesday morning.
Contacted, Engineer Khandaker Mokammel Hossain, Power Development Board (Selling and Distribution), Sylhet, said: “We are working to reestablish power supply in Sylhet. Our workers are working relentlessly to restore power as soon as possible.”
According to BPDB sources, around 150-200 workers are working to restore power supply in the region.
Regular life disrupted
The prolonged power outage has triggered water shortages in many areas of the region. People are struggling to keep their cellphones on and are reporting internet issues.
The power cut has affected operations at hospitals and work at public and private offices. Only a small number of refuelling stations are open but they are struggling to provide fuel to customers. Sales of candles and bottled water have shot up.
Meanwhile, water supply has remained suspended during the blackout, putting city residents and patients at hospitals in trouble.
The sudden crisis has forced people to collect water from water bodies inside the city, including local ponds and the Surma River. Locals were seen gathering on the banks of the Surma River Tuesday night, collecting water in bottles, buckets and drums.
Basic tasks, such as cooking and going to the bathroom, became problematic following the blackout, leading citizens to wonder when power might return.
A senior official of the Rural Electrification Board had stated that it might be possible to turn on the power supply partially by Wednesday evening with one of the power transformers. “Another transformer is being brought from Gazipur, and will take a day or two to install. After that, power supply in Sylhet will return to normal.”
Meanwhile, demand for candles has seen a dramatic rise in Sylhet as many people, having no power generators or alternative electricity supplies, resorted to buying candles.
Shopkeepers – charging double the price than usual – said that they had sold large numbers of candles since Tuesday afternoon and had made great profit.
Earlier at around 11:15am on Tuesday, a fire broke out at the Kumargaon Power Station in Sylhet. Fire Service and Civil Defence brought the fire under control at around 12:30pm.
A firefighter named Joyonto Kumar sustained burn injuries while dousing the fire and is currently undergoing treatment at Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital.