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Power failure in Bangladesh after grid failure

A failure in Bangladesh’s national electricity grid caused much of the country to blackout on Tuesday, officials said.

In the capital Dhaka, market shoppers lit candles and restaurant diners ate candle-lit food.

Officials of the state-run Bangladesh Power Development Board said power transmission failed in the eastern part of the country.

Electricity department spokesman Shamim Hassan said all power plants in Dhaka and other major cities were shut down and power was cut.

He said engineers are trying to find out where and why the fault occurred and it could take hours to restore the system.

Bangladesh’s recent impressive economic growth is threatened by a power shortage as the government suspended operations of all diesel-fired power plants to reduce costs for imports as prices soar.

Diesel-powered power plants produce about 6 percent of Bangladesh’s electricity generation, so their closure could cut production by up to 1500 megawatts.

Earlier this month, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Farooq Hasan said the situation is so dire that garment factories are now without electricity for about four to 10 hours a day.

Bangladesh is the world’s second largest garment exporter after China, and it earns more than 80 percent of its total foreign exchange each year from exports of apparel products.

Last month, the Asian Development Bank said in a report that Bangladesh’s economic growth would slow to 6.6 per cent in the current fiscal from its previous forecast of 7.1 per cent.

Weak consumer spending due to sluggish export demand, domestic manufacturing constraints and other factors are behind the slowdown.

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