We do not understand how the business of a sensitive product like LPG or liquefied petroleum gas can continue year after year in the country without any kind of registration or permission. According to a Samakal report published on Tuesday, in a recent meeting organized by the Competition Commission, the representative of the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission-BERC admitted that none of the four thousand distributors and nearly half a million retailers in this sector have received the approval of the organization so far. Even BERC does not seem to be active in this regard. Although the use of LPG in the country has been going on for many decades, BERC has been fixing the price of the product since 2020 on the orders of the High Court. But customers have never got this essential cooking product at that price till now. And despite the above complaints of customers, BERC has not taken any remedial measures. They argued that the lack of registration made it difficult to bring proper accountability, especially to distributors and retailers.
As we know, the LPG market in the country has already expanded a lot. As a matter of fact there is no alternative to LPG even in the rural areas as the new approval for use of natural gas for domestic purposes has stopped. As a result, energy security of billions of consumers including LPG is involved. In addition, it is important to preserve the quality of the cylinder as it is supplied by filling the cylinder. In recent times, we have been getting news of deaths and injuries due to LPG cylinder explosions. Especially for these two reasons we have called the product touchy. Herein lies the importance of proper control and monitoring in this sector. It is also necessary to say that if registration is ensured at all levels in the LPG business, it becomes easier for the National Directorate of Consumer Rights Protection and other market monitoring organizations to fulfill their responsibilities related to this sector. We hope that BERC will immediately bring LPG distributors and retailers under the purview of registration following the recommendations of the meeting. At the same time, the organization will determine the price of the product through public hearing and take appropriate steps to implement it.