Chittagong reels under acute gas shortage
Chittagong is reeling under an acute gas shortage, especially its industrial sector, though measures such as rationing have been taken to prevent it.
The gas shortage worsened when the gas supply dropped further over the last few weeks.
Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Ltd (KGDCL) said it now supplies gas to 597,662 consumers. Of them, 593,574 are household ones, 2,788 are commercial and 1,045 are industrial.
President of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) Mahbubul Alam wrote a letter on March 1 to Power and Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury and State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid.
In the letter, Mahbubul called for increasing the supply from the national grid to address the crisis.
He also mentioned that the gas supply to Chittagong saw a recent sharp drop, and then household and commercial consumers began facing untold hardship.
The crisis is expected to take a heavy toll on trade and commerce as owners of apparel companies and other industries might fail to meet work order and shipment deadlines. Even hospitals and clinics are reeling from the severe shortage, the letter also stated.
Meanwhile, Chittagong city BNP secretary Abul Hashem Bakkar, during a rally held on Thursday in the port city, said its residents were hit hard by the crisis.
The BNP leader demanded increasing gas supply to Chittagong from the national grid.
City residents have complained about the acute shortage hampering their household chores.
Farida Yasmin, a housewife in the city’s Sholoshahar area, told the Dhaka Tribune that she could barely operate her gas burners the last few weeks as the gas supply pressure drops after 11am.
The acute supply disruption and low gas pressure also compelled many CNG filling stations to suspend their facilities.
Many CNG-run three-wheelers, queuing up for long hours at filling stations, had to be turned back empty handed.
KGDCL Managing Director Ayub Khan Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune: “We have very little to do with the gas crunch as KGDCL does not produce any gas.”
“KGDCL distributes gas to its consumers. We are also concerned about the gas shortage. We often write to Petrobangla to increase the gas supply to Chittagong to mitigate the crisis,” he said.
“The shortage might end by 2018 with the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and improvements in domestic production,” he added.