Despite withdrawal of embargo, decision on new gas connections to industries and commercial consumers has been put on the backburner by the gas distribution companies due to reconstitution of a high level committee after departure of its head.
As a result, thousands of potential bulk gas users, who already set up their establishments through heavy investment taking loans from banks, have to wait for indefinite period.
Official sources said the government in May this year withdrew the ban on new gas connections especially for the household consumers. The ban was imposed in 2009 considering the severe shortfall in production and supply.
Before the withdrawal, it was stated that gas distribution companies can provide new gas connections to industries and commercial users if only the high-level committee headed by then Prime Minister’s Energy Advisor Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury takes decision on it considering public interest.
The household consumers’, following the Energy Ministry’s such stance, started getting new connections. But the present state of affairs put the industrial and commercial consumers in great dilemma.
Despite pursuing at different levels of the government, the gas seekers failed to obtain the gas connections. Some 248 applications were approved from the bulk consumers to get gas connections.
It is alleged that no specific rules were followed in approving the applications in 5 phases. Even, no technical data and information sheet was attached with the applications while the committee approved them.
After resignation of Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury from PM’s Advisor, the consumers’ predicament has been increased since the government is yet to fill up the vacancy of the high level committee chief.
In absence of its head, the high-level committee remained inoperative. As a result, Petrobangla, Titas or any other distribution companies can’t forward the gas seekers’ applications to the committee for its decision.
When contacted, Petrobangla chairman Dr. Hussain Monsur and Titas Gas Managing Director Nowshad Islam declined to make any comment on the issue.
While visiting Titas Gas head office, this correspondent found a lot of owners of different industries and commercial enterprises trying to pursue top officials to manage gas connections, but no positive result has been attained as yet.