The agitating employees of Bangladesh Power Development Board (PDB) have announced a new, seven-day programme to protest the formation of a new power distributing company.
The protesters, united under the banner of Sramik-Karmachari Oikya Parishad, will begin their week-long protest with a public awareness event, to take place on Wednesday, and will continue with public rallies Thursday and Saturday.
On August 21, the anniversary of the grenade attack on an Awami League rally, the Oikya Parishad members will hold a discussion on the event.
On August 22, they will hold a two-hour sit-in protest in front of all PDB offices in the country. The sit-in protests will be for three hours on August 23 and four hours on August 24.
“The state minister for power sought two days on Sunday to discuss the issue with the prime minister. Since we did not hear from him after the two days, we announced the programme,” said Zahirul Islam Chowdhury, president of Bidyut Sramik League and a leader of the Oikya Parishad.
“If any accident takes place during the protest, the state minister will be responsible,” he told the Dhaka Tribune on Wednesday.
If the issue remains unresolved, the parishad will announce their next course of action on August 27.
Meanwhile, the government appointed a new chairman to the PDB as the incumbent chairman, Shamsul Hasan Miah, went into retirement.
The new chairman, Khaled Mahmud, is scheduled to join his new workplace on Wednesday.
A Mymensingh native, Khaled joined the PDB as an assistant engineer in 1981.
Asked about the ongoing crisis, the new PDB chairman told the Dhaka Tribune that he wanted to do his job properly, with all the staff on board.
The PDB employees started their protest on August 2, a day after the PDB signed two deals with North-West Zone Power Distribution Company Ltd (NWZPDCL), a company which was formed over a decade ago and consists of some of PDB's distribution zones.
The first protest programme launched by the Oikya Parishad ended on Sunday, when the protesters met with State Minister of Energy, Power and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid.
However, the meeting failed to reach a fruitful solution to the crisis.
PDB operations have been greatly hampered since the protest began.
Earlier on Sunday, Nasrul Hamid told reporters that the government wanted to transform PDB into a corporation similarly as Petrobangla and Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation.
He said the PDB would from now act as an electricity generating company only, and the power distribution will be handled by new companies.