May 31, 2006

Fifty injured in Bangladesh clash over electricity

BHOLA, Bangladesh (Reuters) - At least 50 people were
injured in southern Bangladesh on Wednesday in clashes between
police and opposition activists protesting against lack of
electricity, police and witnesses said.

Police used batons and fired blank shots as members of the
main opposition Awami League tried to storm the office of the
state-run electricity utility in the town of Bhola, 320 km (200
miles) from the capital Dhaka.

Three policemen were among those injured in the clashes,
the latest in a series of violent protests over shortage of
electricity and water.

At least 20 people have been killed in police firing and
clashes during protests, mostly by farmers, in the country's
northwest over lack of electricity to run irrigation pumps.

With many existing plants out of action, Bangladesh only
produces about 3,000 MW of power a day against a demand of
4,500 megawatts.

The government has said it needs funds to build new
electricity plants.