Factory workers besiege company over power cuts

DHAKA, BANGLADESH - Some 500 factory workers rioted and besieged a state-run power company, claiming they have lost earnings because of persistent power cuts at their workplace in central Bangladesh, a news report said.

The workers ran amok in Narsingdi district, 25 miles east of the capital, Dhaka, torching vehicles, barricading a highway and attacking the offices of the Narsingdi Rural Electrification Board, the United News of Bangladesh agency said.

Police got the situation under control after an hour, and no one was hurt in the melee, the report said.

The workers complained that production at jute and textile factories in the district has been seriously affected by persistent power shortages and that their salaries have fallen as a result, it said.

The electricity board's general manager, Syed Wahidul Islam, said the factory workers did not spare anything and that they torched nine of the company's motorcycles in the rampage, the agency reported.

Islam, police and local government officials were not immediately available to comment to The Associated Press.

Frequent power cuts in Bangladesh, a nation of 150 million people, are common as its power generation plants mostly fired by gas fail to meet the demand. The country has no nuclear power plants but the government is discussing the issue in recent days.

According to the government's Power Division, there is a gap of some 1,000 megawatts of electricity against daily demand of more than 4,000 megawatts.


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