Report: Corruption in the Electricity Sector

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Corruption is a topic of interest and concern in academic circles, in the media, among people of different professions, within the civil service, among members of parliament, politicians, government officials, members of the business and financial communities, students, foreign investors, aid agencies and non-governmental organizations. In other words, the term corruption is not new to Bangladesh. A general impression conveyed by the media and by popular discourse is that among ordinary people in Bangladesh; corruption is viewed quite clearly as 'a way of life'. A recent survey carried out by the Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad reinforces that impression: the survey found, among other significant data, that 95 per cent of respondents believed that the police were the most corrupt department in the land, followed very closely by the customs, the department of excise and taxation, the bureaucracy, and the judiciary. A solid 62 per cent of respondents believed that the primary responsibility for corruption in Bangladesh lay in the hands of government officials. Corruption is not identifiable as a single, separate, independent entity which can be isolated and destroyed. Corruption is a complex set of processes involving human behavior and many other variables, some of which are difficult to recognize or measure. Even though corruption manifests itself as a force on its own and often generates its own momentum, it is linked to many other factors, and it is by understanding these factors that we can hope to understand corruption.

What is corruption?

There are several meanings of the word corruption but when we use the term, we usually refer to a specific kind of exchange, activity or behavior. For instance, corruption could mean a process of physical decay or degeneration; the loss of innocence; a state of moral impurity or moral deterioration; perversion in taste or language; and also the wrongful, negligent or willfully corrupt act of a public official in the discharge of his or her public duties. Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It hurts everyone whose life, livelihood or happiness depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority.

Corruption (philosophical concept), often refers to spiritual or moral impurity, or deviation from an ideal.

Corruption is not just an economic exchange, generated by a monetary or 'economic' motive. Neither is corruption an exclusively political activity, motivated by a desire to attain or retain political power. The process of corruption is more than economic or political - it is a social process as well, existing side-by-side with, and sometimes complementing economic and political activity.

Historical Background:

Power is the key source of productivity and an effective breakthrough to the modernization of the world society. Electricity was first installed at Dhaka in 1901, and in 1948, the Electricity Directorate was established in East Pakistan. During that period, the highest plant size was only 10 mw Steam Turbine in Siddhirganj along with other plants in Chittagong and Khulna.

Box 1: Historical Background of The
Power Sector
1901: Electricity was first installed at Ahsan Manjil, Dhaka City (Generation: 21 MW by Public; Distribution: 17 towns by
private companies)
1948: Electricity Directorate (ED)
1959: Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA)
1960: EPWAPDA statuary org.
1972: Bangladesh Water Development Board and Bangladesh
Power Development Board
1978: Rural Electrification Board
1991: Dhaka Electricity Supply Authority
1996: Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh and
Dhaka Electricity Supply Company
2002: Ashuganj Power Supply Company Ltd.
2003: West Zone Power Distribution Company Ltd.
2005: North West Zone Power Distribution Company Ltd

The construction of the Kaptai
hydro-electric project with an
installed capacity of 40 MW and...
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