• Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020
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Dhaka, Chittagong to face gas disruption this week

  • Published at 10:55 pm February 17th, 2019
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A dhaka resident is seen using a gas cylinder-based burner for cooking instead of gas pipeline-based burner on Saturday during the hours-long outage in several parts of the city Dhaka Tribune

Dhaka to see 12-hour outage on Tuesday, one-third of Ctg faced gas shortages yesterday

Gas supply to parts of Dhaka was disrupted on Saturday due to emergency maintenance at a city gas station (CGS) in Ashulia, and in Chittagong, after an explosion at a gas pipeline on Akmal Ali Road on the same day.

The gas supply, however, had resumed in Dhaka on Sunday, 24 hours after emergency maintenance was done on a valve at the station.

But authorities are now saying that there are more gas supply issues to follow this week.

Officials said a similar 12-hour suspension will begin from 6pm Tuesday because of relocation of pipelines to facilitate construction of the metro rail project in the capital.

Md Kamruzzaman Khan, director (operation) of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited (TGTDCL), said: “Areas in the city, excluding Uttara, Gulshan, Banani, parts of Mirpur and Jatrabari, will suffer a low gas pressure, while the rest of the areas will face total outage.

“Gas connection will remain suspended in Dhanmondi, Mohammadpur, Jigatola, Rampura, Bansree and some parts of Old Dhaka,” he added.

These are the same areas in Dhaka South city that experienced gas crisis due to the gas supply disruption on Saturday.

The TGTDCL is already facing a shortfall of at least 300mmcfd against its demand of around 2,200mmcfd. In Dhaka metropolitan area alone, the demand is around 1,700mmcfd.

Also Read - Dhaka to see another gas supply disruption on Tuesday

With 2,783,134 consumers - including 44 power plants, 1,630 captive power producers, and 5,128 industrial units - the TGTDCL supplies gas under eight categories in Dhaka and Mymensingh divisions.

The number of Titas’ household users is 2,764,247, while the number of commercial users is 11,688.

The beginning of suffering

On Friday night, Gas Transmission Company Ltd (GTCL) received a complaint about a gas leak but the technical team was sent to investigate only on Saturday morning.

GTCL west zone’s General Manager (operations), Abu Sayed Mahmud, said they detected a leak on a 20-inch diameter pipeline at the GTCL gas station in Ashulia on Friday. “Upon receiving information, a GTCL maintenance team started working at the site from 8am Saturday."

Parts of Dhanmondi, Shyamoli, Agargaon, Ashulia, Savar, Aminbazar,  Dhamrai, Old Dhaka, Shukrabad, Kalabagan, Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Jigatala, Sukrabad, Shankar,  Kallyanpur, and Gabtoli areas experienced an acute gas crisis.

 A Dhaka resident is seen using a makeshift stove for cooking instead of gas pipeline-based burner on Saturday during the hours-long outage in several parts of the city | Dhaka Tribune Most people in these areas complained that the gas was turned off without any prior warning and did not know how long the supply was going to be out.

In Chittagong, a blast occurred in the Bandertila area around 4pm. Officials were expecting to resume supplying gas to Chittagong city's Patenga and Halishahar areas by yesterday night.

Md Jasim Uddin, deputy assistant director of Chittagong Fire Service, told the Dhaka Tribune the gas pipeline was 15 feet beneath the canal, and was penetrated during the excavation process.

"There were no casualties in the accident. However, gas supply has been disrupted in adjoining areas,” he said.

Khaiz Ahmed Mozumder, managing director of Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company (KGDC) Ltd, told the Dhaka Tribune that they were repairing the pipeline as fast as they could.

"A 24-inch diameter ring in the main gas pipeline was damaged when Chittagong City Corporation authorities were digging a canal in the area. We immediately decided to stop the gas supply to ensure safety of the people and their property.

“Our team is working onsite and we are hopeful that gas supply will resume by Sunday night," he said.

Also Read - Gas supply disruption continues in Chittagong

“At present, gas supply remains suspended in some areas of the city, including Patenga, Karnaphuli EPZ, CEPZ, Agrabad, Halishahar, and Bandar,” he added.

At the time of filing this report at 8:31pm Sunday, gas supply had not resumed in Chittagong.

Negligent authorities and the 24 hour outage in Dhaka

A clear negligence by the authorities concerned to notify people about the gas disruption has caused immense suffering for people in Dhaka, said an expert.

Energy Adviser to CAB, Dr M Shamsul Alam, said: “People in Dhaka could have been notified earlier about the gas supply disruption.

“If they (authorities) needed to do emergency maintenance work, they could have notified people with a notice or something. They have showed utter negligence and this is a crime, as they did not pay heed to the suffering that was created due to their negligence,” he said.

“The authorities did not even take any action against those responsible for this suffering. The situation on Saturday was not a disaster, it was man-made, and it was intentional,” he said, demanding action against officials responsible so that such negligence does not happen again.

How prepared is Chittagong for an emergency?

Central Vice President of Consumers' Association of Bangladesh, SM Nazer Hossain, told the Dhaka Tribune that utility service providers lack preparation for emergencies.

"Accidents may happen at any moment. But the utility service providers should have a rapid response mechanism, since people are directly affected by gas, water, and electricity supply disruptions. Unfortunately, the utility companies showed a laid-back attitude towards the people's suffering," the consumer rights activist said.

Taking advantage of the gas crisis, some unscrupulous traders and restaurateurs have shot up the price of food and bottled LPG gas, he claimed.  

The KGDCL in Chittagong now supplies gas to 597,662 consumers. They supply gas to 593,574 households, 2,788 commercial establishments, and 1,045 industrial entities.