Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said the countrymen will get electricity as her government would continue the power supply despite being compelled to show austerity in energy sector due to the global crisis for Russia-Ukraine war and Covid-19 pandemic.
"We have to be economical due to the war, sanctions and Coronavirus that contributed immensely to skyrocketing inflation and transportation cost. It doesn't mean the countrymen won’t get electricity. They will get electricity, but all have to be economical," she said.
The prime minister said this while inaugurating installation of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) at Unit-2 of the 2400MW Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP).
She joined virtually the opening ceremony at the RNPP in Ishwardi of Pabna from her official Ganabhaban residence here as the installation is perceived enabling Bangladesh to reach nearer to produce electricity from the nuclear power.
The premier said the people will have to be economical due to the present global situation despite illuminating every house with electricity.
"We had a target to provide electricity to all and kept the promise. We have reached power to every doorstep and have lit up the entire Bangladesh," she said.
She also said everyone should realise that the world is a global village and one is dependent on others, adding the blow of global economic meltdown would definitely hit Bangladesh.
"Many developed countries are even suffering from the global crisis and are giving attention on showing austerity in many sectors and we are following the same," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said many developed countries are in uproar situation for food due to the global crisis while such situation is still not created in Bangladesh.
"We are ensuring food security for the people. We have given special cards to one crore people to purchase food at fair price and are providing food free of cost to the people unable to purchase essentials," she said.
The prime minister said her government would definitely be able to face the present situation as they have successfully overcome the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We know many people can criticise, but we don't need to pay heed to their criticism, rather we will discharge our duties for the country and its people," she said.
After inaugurating the RPV installation, Sheikh Hasina said, "Today is a very important day for us and we feel very proud as we have been able to reach Bangladesh to another height through the installation. The day will be written in Bangladesh's history as a day of achievement."
Expressing her gratitude to the Russian government and its President Vladimir Putin for extending help to set up a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh, she said Bangladesh has set an example by ensuring that the nuclear power is meant for peace and development.
The prime minister said the first unit of the nuclear power plant will supply 1,200 MW power in 2023 while the same amount of electricity will be available from the second unit in 2024.
She said the electricity would be greatly beneficial for socio-economic advancement of the people particularly of North Bengal which was once known for Monga and famine.
The premier said Bangabandhu planned to set up nuclear power plant in Bangladesh as the then Pakistan government scrapped its decision to build nuclear power plant in the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and shifted it to the then West Pakistan (now Pakistan) in 1962.
Following the footsteps of the Father of the Nation, she said she talked with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other concerned over setting up the nuclear power plant during her Russia visit in 2016 and an agreement was inked to this respect.
Many affairs came to the discussions, but the security of the nuclear power plant dominated those, she said.
Her government's priority was to ensure that no nuclear accident like Chernobyl takes place in Bangladesh to protect the lives and livelihoods of the countrymen, she added.
The prime minister re-assured the countrymen that the environment would face no harm due to establish the nuclear power plant as her government has taken every measure to protect the environment.
She said her government has reached electricity to the village level alongside making development of the communication system for ensuring socio-economic advancement of the countrymen as Bangabandhu dedicated his entire life to give them a beautiful and delicate life.
Science and Technology Minister Architect Yeafesh Osman and Director General of Rosatom, Russia's Atomic Energy Organisation, Alexey Likhachev spoke on the occasion while Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology Ziaul Hasan gave the address of welcome.
A documentary on the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant was also screened at the function.
The project has seen around 53 % financial progress and 55% physical progress. However, the overall progress of the first unit is 70%.
The Rooppur project is being implemented by the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission with the technical and financial support of Russia. The project's construction cost, including manpower training, amounts to $12.65 billion, and 90% of it is being funded by Russia.
Earlier, on October 10 of last year, the prime minister had inaugurated the RPV at the first unit of the RNPP, which entitled Bangladesh as the 33rd country to have a nuclear power plant for producing electricity from nuclear energy.