The ruling Awami League government has been bound to raise the gas tariff for their 'widespread corruption' in the energy sector, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir alleged Wednesday.
The BNP leader came up with this allegation while reacting to the Supreme Court order clearing the way for increasing the energy prices.
"The government has increased the prices of power, gas and oil in different phases. They even hiked the oil price when it slumped on the international market.They're raising the energy prices for huge corruption in the sector," he said.
Condemning this price hike, the BNP leader further said, "The government is cutting people's pockets to make up the huge expenditure in the power sector due to corruption and plundering in the name of quick rental power plants."
On Tuesday, Chamber Judge of the Appellate Division Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain stayed the High Court order that stayed for six months a government decision for raising gas prices for all consumers in the second phase with effect from June 1 next.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said there is no legal bar to raise gas price from June 1 following the Chamber Judge's decision.
On Feb 23, Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission fixed monthly gas bills for one burner at Tk 750 and two burners at Tk 800 for households. The rates came into effect from Mar 1.
The BERC also said the prices will be increased again by Tk 150 in the second phase. Therefore, the monthly gas bill for a double burner will be Tk 950 and for a single burner Tk 900 from June 1.
The HC on February 28 stayed for six months the government's decision to enforce a further increase in gas price within a span of three months after the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) filed a petition questioning the legality of the move.
Fakhrul said the government is raising 'false' and 'fabricated' slogans of the country's economic development. "They're placing big budgets to misguide people."
He said the government is raising the size of the budget every year to give people a wrong perception about the economic growth. "They couldn't implement 55 percent of the last budget. They're now going to place another big budget, though they won't be able to implement it either. Their main intention is to fool people."
As his attention was drawn to Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader's comment that BNP's demand for withdrawal of cases against its leaders and activists is an unjustified plea, Fakhrul said, "It's his (Quader's) quite natural remarks as they will be benefited if the cases remain against us. They'll get a chance to score in an empty field if we loiter on court premises and stay in jail."
Fakhrul said their party thinks it is crucial to withdraw the 'false' cases filed against their leaders and activists to ensure a level-playing field for fair polls. "It's our genuine demand."