Waiting at CNG filling station till late night for gas. At 12 o’clock Saturday night in Sonargaon Tipuridi area of Narayanganj on Dhaka-Chittagong highway. Image: Kal Kantha
There are about 1000 gas connections in industries and factories in Narayanganj region. Most of the big factories are running on gas-fired power generation. The recent Ukraine-Russia war and the dollar crisis have hit these industries. Gas crisis has now been added to this.
Unable to meet production targets, many factories are closing down. This threatens the employment of millions of workers.
Sources of Titas Gas and Transmission Company said that gas is not available as per demand in Dhaka and its surrounding industries and residential level. The daily demand of gas is 190 million cubic feet, Titas is getting 160 million cubic feet.
Disruption of production in industries
BKMEA and Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) sources said that various factories around Dhaka including Narayanganj have to be closed for 5 to 8 hours due to lack of gas pressure. In the last two months, the production of the factories has decreased by 45 to 60 percent. If this trend of low gas pressure continues, 40 percent of factories will shut down within two months.
Bashundhara Group has Bashundhara Paper Mill, Units 1, 2 and 3 and Bashundhara Multipaper Mill at Sonargaon in Narayanganj. Bashundhara Paper Mill Executive Director and Head of Project Engineer of Bashundhara Paper Mill Unit-3 Abu Hasan told Kal Kantha, ‘The demand for electricity in our factories is 50 MW. We meet the electricity demand through 50 gas powered generators. For the last two months we have been able to generate 30 MW of electricity. As the demand of the remaining 20 MW is not met, the production of the factory has to be stopped. The cost of production has increased several times. Unable to export products abroad as per demand and time. ‘
Karthik Chandra Das, Executive Director (Technical) of Meghna Group of Industries said, ‘Meghna Group has 42 industrial plants in Sonargaon area along with our group economic zone. Our five power plants generate 160 MW of electricity. Due to lack of gas pressure, we are now able to produce only 60 megawatts of electricity. The remaining 100 MW of electricity is in short supply. Due to the inability to produce cement and consumer goods, the needs of the buyers are not being met. If this continues, there will be no option but to close the factory. ‘
The same picture in Bisik, Fatalla, Siddhirganj, Rupganj, Araihazar, Sonargaon, Bandar and Ghazaria areas of Narayanganj in various small, medium and large industries.
CNG station is not getting gas
The CNG stations from which gas is supplied to various transporters have not been able to supply gas as required for two months. CNG stations are closed from 6 pm to 11 pm as per government decision. Bangladesh CNG Station Owners Association Narayanganj-Munshiganj Zone President Saida Akhter said that for the past few months, the gas pressure is not more than 2 to 3 psi during the day instead of 15 psi. Due to this, the vehicles are not getting the desired gas even after sitting in long lines for hours.
Going to various CNG stations on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway on Saturday from 11:00 pm to 1:30 pm, after the government decided to close the CNG stations from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm, long queues of vehicles were seen before the 11:00 pm market. From 11 pm, CNG station employees wanted to supply gas to the vehicles but could not due to low pressure. Many transport drivers are seen leaving after waiting for hours without getting gas.
Imran Hossain, the driver of a private transport, said, ‘I did not get gas all day. Drove on octane. Even when I came to get gas at night, I did not get the desired gas. If this continues, the transport should be stopped. ‘
Station owners confirmed that 10 CNG stations on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway from Jatrabari to Meghnaghat were closed within a week due to non-availability of the desired gas.
Illegal customer seven times
According to Titus Gas Narayanganj office sources, they have 66 thousand valid residential customers and 451 industrial connections in Narayanganj City Corporation area.
According to Titus’ Sonargaon regional office sources, they have 31,000 valid residential customers and 500 industrial customers in Sonargaon, Bandar, Araihazar, Rupganj and Gazaria upazilas of Munshiganj in Narayanganj. However, Titus’ field survey and local search revealed that Titus has more than seven times more illegal customers than legitimate customers.
A senior official of Titus head office told Kal Kantha that Titus has the most illegal customers in Narayanganj’s Rupganj, Araihajhar, Sonargaon, Bandar, Ghazaria and Narayanganj City Corporation areas. He said that due to the lack of manpower in Titus and the lack of proper administration officials, the illegal disconnection operation cannot be carried out.