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Power cuts raise Easter worries

Priests say load-sharing has made preparations for Easter service more difficult

Power cuts across the country have increased in recent weeks Power cuts across the country have increased in recent weeks
  • Bangladesh
  • April 5, 2012
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Growing power shortages across the country have raised concerns among Church communities during Holy Week and ahead of the Easter Tridium –three days of religious preparation ahead of Easter.

Father Julian Rozario, parish priest of Gopalpur parish in northwestern Natore district, said this week that rural communities could be hardest hit, as many urban churches have alternative power sources.

“Electricity supplies remain suspended for three hours following one hour of availability. People are losing patience,” he said.

“We have complained to the local power office, but it has had no effect.”

He said that repeated load-sharing has drawn attention away from preparations for this weekend’s liturgical celebrations on the most important feast day of the Catholic year.

“We have accepted the problem as a part of Lenten sacrifice but it can’t last for long,” Fr Rozario said.

Holy Cross Fr Edmond Cruze, 53, pastor of Bandarban parish in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, said he has been forced to depend on candles to lead the liturgy since power cuts became chronic in January.

“Tribal Catholics travel a long way to attend Church, where they often have to endure the power cuts. With more people expected for Holy Week programs, their suffering will be enormous.”

He added that he has made plans to rent a generator to ease the burden.

According to the state-run Power Development Board, daily power generation is about 5,000 megawatts, with an estimated demand for more than 5,550 megawatts.

Only about 50 percent of the country has access to electricity.

“We can’t produce additional power to meet the demand,” said PDB official Kamrun Nahar.

“Moreover, we have started allowing new connections that have put pressure on the existing supply. We have launched a campaign to make people aware of not wasting power.”
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