Gas supply shortage hits households, industries28 January 2023
Staff Reporter :
Shortfall of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and low pressure of pipeline gas supply has badly hit the households and the industries, causing immense sufferings and production loss every day.
Even people in the rural and urban areas are experiencing load shedding of electricity in the winter season and the irrigation is being hampered in the peak season of crop cultivation.
The prices of electricity have gone up recently, despite sharp resistance from different quarters, including the opposition political parties.
Amid the ongoing anti-government movement, Bangladesh Nationalist Party's one of the agenda is to force the government to reduce electricity and gas prices, considering people's financial crisis.
Meanwhile, the government has assured that they would ensure uninterrupted gas supply from April and the electricity price will be adjusted every month.
"We have fixed the gas price in accordance with the world market. Our target is to ensure uninterrupted gas supply from April following the demand for uninterrupted gas supply by the business community," State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid in the capital on Friday said.
The state minister also hinted that the newly found gas field in the island district Bhola will be connected with the national grid within two months, ushering a new hope for continuous gas supply.
He, however, said that the load shedding is not acute and the government has been managing it.
He urged the farmers to follow the schedule of using electricity for irrigation purposes.
"We have set a schedule for the farmers who are facing trouble in irrigation to run their pumps," he said.
Though the government has been increasing the electricity and gas price regularly, the industries, business enterprises and households are facing load shedding even in this winter and the gas pressure remains very low in many areas.
Businessmen and industrialists said that their production is being hampered by low pressure of gas. Even the city residents have been complaining about low pressure of gas supply for cooking throughout the day.
On the other hand, the consumers are facing shortage of LPG supply both in the
capital and outside Dhaka. Even many have complained about the price hike of LPG due to a shortfall of supply in the market.
The importers' sources said that due to the dollar crisis they have been unable to open letters of credit for LPG for a long time.
LPG Operators Association of Bangladesh (LOAB) has already written a letter to the Governor of Bangladesh Bank regarding the opening of loan for LPG import.
They said if the issue is not dealt with in due time, it will further intensify the crisis of LPG.
The LPG supply companies said that the supply of LPG cylinders across the country, including Dhaka, has reduced by almost half.
According to LOAB, there are currently 58 LPG approved supply companies in the country. Of them, 24 are active. The annual demand for LPG is more than 14 lakh tonnes. There are around 40 lakh families who use LPG, benefitting around three crore people.
The residents in Khulna city are facing a crisis of LPG due to shortage of supply and the prices of the liquefied gas has been increased by Tk 100 to Tk 200.
The LPG retailers and distributors in Sheikhpara, Moylapota intersection, Sangita Cinema Hall Intersection and Mistripara said that the supply of LPG gas has drastically fallen.
Earlier they used to get the supply of gas from six to seven companies and now it has reduced to two or three. A number of empty cylinders are lying vacant in their shops, they said.
Preferring anonymity, one of the LPG sellers at Shamsur Rahman in Khulna city said he used to sell around 200 cylinders of six operators every month, but now the sell has fallen by 40 per cent due to shortfall of supply.
President of Khulna Gas Shop Owners Association Tobarak Hossain Apu said, "The companies are not giving LPG as per demand. If we ask for 50 cylinders, we get 10. The companies say that they are facing trouble in opening LC due to the dollar crisis."
Amid such a situation, the business community and consumers hope that the government and concerned stakeholders would take steps to address this situation.