Al-Arafah Islami Bank yesterday distributed 25 solar panels for free among some poor families at Madhabpur in Habiganj in a bid to boost the rural economy through empowering the poor.
The bank handed the panels as part of its corporate social responsibility programme. Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman inaugurated the event.
The panels will enable poor students to continue their studies till late night, Rahman added. He said it will also invigorate the rural economy, as small traders and cottage industry workers will also be able to extend their work hours at night with the help of the panels.
Twenty-five families who have school-going children in Madhabpur got the solar panels worth about Tk 3.10 lakh each.
The central bank governor thanked Al-Arafah for spending about Tk 5.26 crore in CSR programme since 2008.
The central bank has long been pushing banks to play a pioneering role in carrying out social responsibilities.
The BB chief expressed his satisfaction as the banks spent Tk 391 crore in 2010 in CSR, up from Tk 55 crore in 2009.
Al-Arafah Chairman Badiur Rahman said the bank started giving easy term loans with repayment in installments for setting up solar panels in remote areas under the bank’s own management.
The bank, through its 14 branches, had so far set up solar panels of about 50,000-watt power for 1,100 families, he said. The chairman added the total investment in the project has been to the tune of Tk 3.5 crore.
Recently a 1,020-watt-power solar panel has been set up at the bank’s South Jatrabari branch and another 300-watt panel at Moulvibazaar branch in Dhaka for their own use.
The Al-Arafah chief said there are many meritorious students in the villages who do not have the ability to buy and set up solar panels. Al-Arafah bank has been helping the families of these children to own solar panels through providing them with easy loans payable in installments.
Distribution of solar panels will start in Sirajganj soon, he said. In the process the bank will distribute solar panels at different places in the country under the programme throughout the year.
Bangladesh Bank governor also introduced a programme to let farmers and freedom fighters open bank accounts for free with the help of Al-Arafah Islami Bank.
Al-Arafah’s Managing Director Ekramul Haque said the central bank directive asked the banks to open bank accounts for farmers with a deposit of Tk 10. But Al-Arafah has been providing scope for opening bank account free of cost to the farmers and freedom fighters, Haque added. The bank will bear the cost for opening every account under its CSR programme.
Habiganj Deputy Commissioner Mahmudul Hasan and Police Super Kamrul Amin also spoke at the inaugural function.
After distributing the solar panels, Bangladesh Bank governor handed a cheque for Tk 1 lakh to Sitesh Ranjan Deb, chief executive of Bangladesh Wildlife Welfare Foundation at Srimangal.
-With The Daily Star input