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Dhaka Monday,  Jul 23, 2018

Minister-Union Agreement Signed: PDB Is Splitting At Last

Rafiqul Bashar

The leaders of the trade unions of Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB or PDB) have finally agreed with the government’s decision of splitting up the PDB’s distribution wing. The union leaders made an agreement with the state minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid thus leaving the month-long protest against PDB’s split up.

A new company named North-West Zone Power Distribution Company (NWZPDC) was formed to take over the PDB’s distribution role in the Rajshahi regions.

Nasrul Hamid made the agreement with the trade union leaders on Thursday at a meeting held at the state minister’s Parliament Bhaban office. Earlier the workers and officials of PDB started protesting the government’s decision of splitting up the PDB under the banner of different trade unions.

The ‘Jtiya Bidyut Sramik League’  president Jahirul Islam signed at the agreement on behalf of the trade union of PDB. On the other hand, Nasrul Hamid himself signed at the mutual agreement.

According to this agreement, PDB will be acting as a holding company and all other companies including distribution companies will be maintained as PDB’s subsidiaries.

However, concerned personnel to this sector already questioned the effectiveness of this agreement. This agreement denotes only a mutual understanding between the state minister and the trade union. It doesn’t provide any necessary legal bindings for the Power division to oblige, as experts claimed.

The government is on the way to split up the distribution wing from the PDB by forming three separate distribution companies for the northern, southern and central regions of the country. Of these three companies, the formation of NWZPDC has been completed and is now awaiting operation, while the process to form another two companies is underway.

However, the employees, as well as trade unions of BPDB, was firmly against it. They had been demonstrating for the past few months demanding suspension of the new company. Already a new Managing Director is appointed for the new NWZPDC but unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to maintain his office duty due to the workers’ movement. The state minister sat on several meetings with the protesters just a few days earlier and the issue was not resolved there until now.

PDB was split earlier into Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh (EGCB), North West Power Generation Company Ltd. (NWPGCL), West Zone Power Distribution Company Ltd. (WZPDCL) and all of the companies are operated by their own company laws. However, split-up companies are still operating as PDB subsidiaries.

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