The prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, inaugurated a Russian-built unit at the Ghorasal thermal power station which took 11 years to complete, Reuters reports. The 210 MWe unit is the sixth at the site. The new plant will raise the nation’s total generating capacity to 2250 MWe. Delays in completion were blamed on the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Bangladesh has a population of 124 million, but only 16 per cent have access to electricity. Losses are high, with nearly 30 per cent lost through theft. Hasina said the private sector is expected to complete a further 1200 MWe of capacity, and the public sector a further 1000 MWe by 2002, virtually doubling the total capacity. There had been an investment of $1 billion in the country’s power sector, to date.