Bangladesh saves power for World Cup TV coverage

Image caption,
Bangladesh has some of the world's most passionate football fans

Factories in Bangladesh have been asked to stop work in the evenings so there is enough electricity for people to watch World Cup football on TV.

The government's request follows protests over power cuts which have interrupted coverage. Angry fans have attacked several distribution centres.

Businessmen have expressed concern that the move will affect production.

Bangladesh's football team did not make it to the World Cup.

The national team is ranked a lowly 157 in the world.

But the BBC's Mark Dummett in Dhaka says football fans are passionate in their support for teams such as Argentina and Brazil.

Thousands of people decorate their homes, factories, cars and markets with the flags of their adoptive nations, he says.

'Unfortunate decision'

Alamgir Kabir, head of the Bangladesh Power Development Board, said factory owners should switch off power for five hours and shops should close.

He also advised people to switch off lights, fans and air conditioners at home.

"If the industries are kept closed, one-third of the electricity consumption will be saved and we can all enjoy the World Cup," Mr Kabir said.

Businessmen say such a shutdown will affect production and revenues.

Fazlul Hoque, president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said this was an "unfortunate decision".

"Our industries [have been] battered by shortage of power for a long time. This decision will cost millions of dollars in losses for the business," he said.

Before the World Cup, Bangladesh was already suffering from an energy crisis.

Officials had warned that the country was producing 3,700MW of electricity against a demand of about 5,200MW.

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