Kamrangirchar gas outage likely to continue for some time

Public representatives have come forward in the past week to try and resolve the gas outage in Kamrangirchar, but they have not been able to give much hope about the restoration of the gas supply.

The area has more illegal gas connections than legal ones and many of the legal clients have overdue bills. In response, Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company, halted the gas supply on May 10. Households on the Kamrangirchar distribution line are now facing a dire situation without fuel for cooking.

Local councillors spoke to the Titas Gas authorities on Monday to try and reach a solution. The company said it would restore the gas supply only after the illegal connections were disconnected and their dues are collected.

Thousands of people live in Kamrangirchar. There are more than 100,000 gas connections against only 12,000 legal customers in the area, according to Titas Gas officials.

Around 90,000 users have illegal connections and legal clients owe Tk 830 million in bills, said Titas Gas Managing Director Md Harunur Rashid Molla.

Harunur Rashid will meet the locals to exchange views on May 19, said Mohammad Hossain, councillor of ward No. 56 in Dhaka South City Corporation.

When asked about the agenda of the meeting, the councillor said the authorities would talk to locals about illegal connections and dues.

He could not confirm whether the gas supply would resume after the meeting.

"Titas has a point. Illegal gas connections and non-payment by legal users are not right. This can't go on" he said.

Aleya Sultana, a homemaker in Hazaribag Model Town said they bought take-out food on the first day of the gas outage and have since started using a kerosene stove and then LPG cylinders to cook at home.

Under the current circumstances of the gas outage, local restaurants have raised food prices, said auto-rickshaw driver Md Atahar.

Rashed Mia, who works at a local restaurant called Al-Amin Hotel, said they have been using LPG cylinders to cook for the past six days, which has pushed food prices up. 

“I live in a rented house and pay the monthly gas bill regularly to the house owner. It’s not my duty to know if the connection is legal or illegal; or if the house owner hasn’t paid the bill. But now it’s us who are suffering,” said local resident Sadiur Rahman.

Local MP Kamrul Islam assured the residents the issue will be resolved. He said the ward councillors are dealing with it and that he had spoken to the Titas Gas managing director.