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Industries in Dhaka, Gazipur, N’ganj reel from gas crunch despite Titas claims of improvement

Published : 18 Feb 2024 10:17 PM

Industries in Dhaka, Gazipur and Narayanganj continue to be afflicted by an acute gas crisis, even though Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company, the state-owned distributor of natural gas, claims the situation has improved. As reported in the media previously, garments and textiles firms in the industrial belt of these central districts have been suffering from an acute gas crisis for the last few months.

“The factories are in dire straits,” a top top-level manager of a group of textile factories in Gazipur told UNB.

Most of the industries in Gazipur do not get adequate supply of gas during their operational periods, the most crucial hours during which their machines need to be running. Inadequate supply manifests in the form of low pressure gas flow, he added.     

Low pressure gas flow is akin to low voltage electricity - many appliances won't run, even though an electric charge is present.

The textiles group official said that due to the lack of gas supply, production in various factories is being disrupted and they are on the verge of shutting down.

In the ongoing gas crisis, important machines like generators and broilers in the dyeing section of the factories are not being run. This has been posing a great risk for the industries to continue their production and pushing them towards huge financial losses.

“Many industries would not be able to pay the salaries and festival bonuses during the coming Eid if the situation does not improve,” said an industry owner.

Industry insiders said there are more than 300 factories in Kaliakoir and other areas in Gazipur.

All these industries have been suffering from the nagging gas crisis and some of them have already suspended their productions.

Each of the industries has more 

than 1000 workers. But following the gas crisis, they have to reduce their production target while some of them use CNG at a higher cost to continue their operations.

A similar situation is prevailing in the Mirpur, Tongi and Narayanganj areas, said Mohammad Hatem, Executive President, of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).

He said that despite increasing the price, the government is not able to provide adequate gas.

 “Production in garment factories has come down to half due to non-availability of gas. Many buyers meanwhile are pushing for air shipments as the normal schedule for shipments has failed in keeping the commitment,” he said adding, some buyers are asking for discounts on the rates. 

“Some customers are upset and cancel the order in such a situation,” he noted.

Recently the Bangladesh Chamber of Industries (BCI) has also alleged that no industry in the country is able to run at its full potential due to the gas crisis.

A Bangladesh Chamber Of Industries delegation, led by its president Anwar-ul Alam Chowdhury (Parvez), raised the allegation when it met Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun at his ministry office.

The lone chamber for industries said the prices of electricity and gas were increased on the pretext of increasing prices on the international market in the hope that the government would ensure their continuous supply.

 “But despite the declining trend of energy prices in the international market, it is being heard that the prices of electricity and gas will be increased again,” BCI said in a statement.

It demands for a sustainable solution to the problem. “If a long term plan is given to the industrial sector in terms of power and gas supply, it can move forward accordingly."

Titas Gas general manager Arpana Islam admitted the gas crisis. But she claimed that the situation has improved to some extent recently following measures to increase the gas supply.

She advised to talk to Petrobangla when asked whether there is any possibility in near future to further improve the gas supply situation.

Petrobangla official statistics reveal that in the last one month the total gas supply across the country has increased by just 100 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD) or so, leaving a deficit between production and supply of about 1500 mmcfd.

The Petrobangla data shows that on February 16 it produced 2671 mmcfd gas including its import from abroad against a demand for more than 4000 mmcfd.

The TItas Gas data also shows that about 30 power plants now remained out of operation due to gas shortage.