Bangladesh asks firms to shut for World Cup


Authorities in soccer crazy Bangladesh on Monday asked all manufacturing factories in and around the capital Dhaka to suspend operations each evening until the end of the World Cup in South Africa.
“We have issued the order to the factories to switch off for five hours every evening in a desperate move to save electricity so people can watch the play on televisions,” said Saleh Ahmed, managing director of the Dhaka Electric Supply Company.
“This is an undesirable decision from an economic point of view but we were rather compelled,” he told reporters.
The month-long World Cup finishes on July 11.
Although Bangladesh, ranked 157th in the world, lost 6-1 to Tajikistan in a two-legged first round Asian zone qualifier for this year’s finals, the country’s young and old, in urban and rural areas, just go crazy whenever the finals are held.
At least 30 people were injured when disgruntled soccer fans attacked several power distribution centers and vandalised at least 20 vehicles in the capital on Saturday. Hundreds of police brought the situation under control after fans in Dhaka were unable to watch the Argentina-Nigeria match.
Two state-run agencies supplying power in the capital of 12 million people have since decided to cut the routine evening one-hour power outage to 30 minutes during the World Cup.
The power supply officials said about 5 000 industries and factories would be affected by the decision.
Only 30% of Bangladesh’s 150 million population have access to electricity but officials admit demand is growing relative to supply, fuelling the anger of consumers. —Reuters