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22 January, 2019 11:21:07 AM

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Many city-dwellers forced to change cooking practice

In some areas, residents make long queues to restaurants in their localities to buy their breakfast and lunch. Many are also using cylinder gas or electric heater for cooking purposes
Prof. Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled
Many city-dwellers forced to change cooking practice

At present there is a serious gas crisis in the country. As the gas crunch is affecting households and industries, the consumer-rights campaigners are attributing the problem to principally two factors.

One is neglect of hydrocarbon exploration and the other is a certain quarter's interest in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import. Many say gas crisis usually occurs in winter due to increase in its demand and condensation in the pipeline. But it still hangs on in the summer in some years. Residents in different areas of the capital city, Dhaka, have changed their habit of cooking depending on the gas supply timing and frequency. Many people are being forced to go through trouble and spend extra money on buying food items from outside.
In some areas, residents make long queues to restaurants in their localities to buy their breakfast and lunch. Many are also using cylinder gas or electric heater for cooking purposes. They deplore that authorities of Titas Gas Company are as usual taking full charge from the consumers at the end of the month though they cannot supply enough gas in the lines. Most of the housewives of Dhaka’s old town and some of the specific areas of new town allege that they had to prepare breakfast for their family by 6:30 am and wait until 3:30 pm for preparing lunch as the burners get virtually no gas during the period. Sometimes gas supply is so low that they have to rely on food from hotels. Even in the afternoons when gas levels return to normal, it is too low to cook anything.

The elderly people and children are suffering most as the warm water they need could not be provided for such on-again, off-again gas supply in the household to meet their demand. Naturally consumers often express their disgust when the government moves to raise the tariffs of natural gas when it fails to ensure uninterrupted supply of the fuel for use. Some say that they have to readjust their daily routine with gas-supply schedule. They need to start cooking very early in the morning –immediately after Fazr prayers. Some say they have to start using gas cylinder because of the intermittent supply of gas in the pipeline. Some had been using induction oven or oven of some other kind to cook food for the months when the crisis became acute. Some who were doing business of supplying lunch to various offices had to stop it for not being able to cook timely owing to gas crisis.  It goes without saying that it is totally unethical and a violation of consumers' rights that Titas gas is taking full bills of gas at the end of the month but not supplying gas regularly in the cooking hours. Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company claim that the country's largest gas-distribution company supplies 1,600 mmcf to 1,650 mmcf of gas per day against a demand for 2,000 mmcf of gas. Titas also said that a few gas wells were under maintenance, which also aggravated the current shortage of gas supplies. It expects the situation to be under control very soon as the import of LNG has begun. This gas is being pumped into Titas pipelines, and the gas crisis will decrease significantly very soon, it hoped.

Here come and quip the rights activists that, neglecting gas exploration in both onshore and offshore potential blocks in the country, a "vested quarter" is enthusiastic about LNG import that would make fuel costlier with its impact on every sphere of the economy and civic life. Coming under increasing difficulties with supply of cooking gas, more and more households, restaurants and hotels have been switching on to the use of the relatively expensive LPG. The hotels are using 35-kg gas cylinders for cooking purposes. The gas cylinders have been kept on the roads, making traffic movement difficult. Moreover, locals fear, it is very dangerous – it can create a big accident anytime. Fire Service and Civil Defence sources also said that it is very dangerous to use the heavyweight gas cylinders in the residential areas as accident can occur anytime. If there be a blast, fire can quickly spread to adjoining areas, causing devastating property damage and loss of life. So the matter has to be urgently taken care of for the sake of public safety.

The writer is a retired Professor of Economics, BCS General

Education Cadre

SHK

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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