Rural power users recover money paid as bribe

Shanchita Shitu
Published : 07:30, Oct 21, 2019 | Updated : 14:55, Oct 21, 2019

To stop the harassment of subscribers, Rural Electrification Board (REB) has introduced a new scheme: to listen to the complaints of subscribers, the company has begun arranging patio meetings and the returning of money paid as bribes.
Recently,the REB returned such 'bribe money' in Bagerhat, Feni, Mymensingh and Jhenaidah. The REB has 27.2 million subscribers and of the 461 upazilas, it supplies power to 341.
The government says that power will be available all over the country by 2021.
The REB said that in the name of giving power lines, a broker group took an excess of Tk 50,800. The brokers took Tk 3,000 from every subscriber in villages of Bagerhat, which amountedto millions.
A probe committee was formed at the order of Maj General (retd) Mainuddin, to deal with the allegations. It was confirmedthat Tk 400 was taken in excess from 127 persons so on Oct 1 last, Tk 50,800 was returned to them.
On Oct 2, Tk 270,000 of bribe money was returned by Mokbul Hossain, general manager of Mymensingh Palli Bidyut Samity-1.An accused REB worker, Abul Bashar, was temporarily suspended.
REB chairman, major general (retd) Main Uddin, said: “94 percent people in rural areas have got power and the rest will get connection by June 2020; now, our main concern is to stop anyharassment of clients. Many brokers hoodwink users andREB gets the blame.”
Saying that there may be collusive behaviour between some dishonest REB workers and brokers, he observed: “We have begun patio meetings all over rural Bangladesh, aimed at reducing the gap between the subscriber and the provider and to build trust.”
“We want to assure the rural people that we are withthem and will do everything to provide power at the correct rates,” he added.