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Gas price hike draws flak from citizens

  • Published at 01:18 am February 25th, 2017
Gas price hike draws flak from citizens
From landlords to tenants, regardless of their ages, sexes and social stratas, who are legally consuming gas for households purposes, find the price hike annoying. Especially, the increase surfaces as a burden for tenants since most landlords have already spiked house rents from January, as they do almost every year. Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) and Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BSD)on Friday called a half-day strike in the capital for Tuesday, protesting the matter. Starting from 6am the six-hour strike will be observed keeping the SSC centres and students out of its purview, said a press note issued by the two left-leaning parties. According to consumers, gas supply remains suspended for several hours daily, already adding to their woes. With the existing gas shortage problem, many say the price hike will badly weigh on them.
The hike in the overall living expenses is not proportionate to our salary since we, the private service holders, hardly get a yearly increment
Mamun Abdullah, a private job holder residing in Tejgaon, said almost every year the price of gas and everyday essentials keep spiraling in line with house rent. “The hike in the overall living expenses is not proportionate to our salary since we, the private service holders, hardly get a yearly increment,” he said. If the government is meant to be people-friendly, it needs to slash the prices immediately, he suggested. Jahanara Akter, a landlord in Jatrabari, said the tenants will feel an extra financial pressure due to the additional bill. She, however, claimed the new price will not affect her since she will adjust the total gas bill from her 10 tenant families by adding the increased amount to their house rent. When contacted, a number of people living in Mohammadpur, Mirpur, Ajimpur, Kafrul, and Rampura echoed similar frustration on the issue. Cooking at home, as many alleged, has been an uphill task because of low supply of gas during daytime, mainly between morning and evening. Many others said they can’t even cook at times since they do not get sufficient gas. Many of the disgruntled city dwellers alleged that the government did it all in order to help expand the market of liquefied petroleum (LP) gas for domestic users, serving the interest of some businessmen. A resident in Hatirjheel area, Orko Asif, said:  “We, two people, use a double burner for a maximum of fifteen days a month. So, why do I have to pay Tk950 monthly for those days only?” He suggested that the government introduce a meter system for every household in Dhaka. Consumers Association of Bangladesh’s Energy Adviser Professor Shamsul Alam said that residential areas are kept in fear of further increase of gas price. “If the state remains ideological, there could not be such a hike. It [gas price hike] is only for making ground for LP gas sales for some business men,” he observed. “I do not agree with the government’s claim to have increased the prices to cut gas subsidy and balance between supplied and LP gas,” he said. Terming the price hike anti-public interest, he claimed the government takes 81% money from the total gas sales, which is supposed to be used in increasing gas production, but the money is not being spent to do so. Meanwhile, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) condemned the hike saying it was irrational, unethical and would create a massive pressure in the national economy. CPB, BSD and  Gono Songhoti Andolon held a protest rally in front of National Press Club in Dhaka on Friday afternoon, a day after the government’s energy regulator announced the increase in all sectors, which is the latest since September, 2015. The monthly gas bill for single-burner stoves will be Tk750 from March, which is currently Tk600. From June, it will jump to Tk900. The double-burner users will have to pay the bill of Tk800 and Tk 950 from March and June respectively. The current monthly bill for a double-burner stove is Tk650.