People from Keraniganj of Dhaka have been depending on commercial generator providers for alternative sources of uninterrupted electricity, as frequent load shading disrupts day-to-day activities of business and households.
A group of businessmen supply electricity to several markets in Keraniganj, they have done so by installing a dozen generators on a drum barge. The barge was anchored on the Buriganga River.
While visiting the area, a Dhaka Tribune reporter found that six barges have been set up in the area, which have the capacity of providing two megawatts of electricity per day.
The six barges have been providing electricity to 3,000 shops and 700 small garment factories in Keraniganj.
Barge owners and operators said they need 10 barrels of oil to run each generator daily. One-barrel of oil costs Tk13,000, while they need oil worth at least Tk130,000 to run the generators every day.
They added, recently the cost has been increasing due to the ever increasing demand for electricity.
The owner of the barges charges Tk350 for a bulb, Tk1,000 for a factory machine and Tk500 for a fan per month.
Saiful Islam, owner of the M D Alamnagar drum barge, who has been in the generator business since 2011, said: “Keraniganj dwellers have been getting only two to four hours electricity per day which is hampering their daily lives.”
“In order to get rid of this situation, we decided to start providing the service commercially,” he added.
Currently Saiful’s business organisation has been providing electricity backup 13 hours every day, but he is suspects that his organisation may not be able to supply electricity for a long time as the situation gets worse day by day.
Mizanur Rahman, owner of Kingshuk Garment Factory, said businessmen like him are very happy, as they have been getting uninterrupted electricity from an alternative source which has been helping them in keeping their businesses running.
He added, “If we do not get the service, most of the factory owners of the area will have to close down their businesses.”
Local people of Keraniganj said the drum barge is not only providing a service but also creating new job opportunities.
A total of 150 people have been working at the six drum barges.
The workers said the jobs at barges have given them hope, and have taken care of some of their basic needs such as food security.
Abdus Sabur, an operator of the barge with a smile on his face, said he is now living a gentle life with his family.