The gas outage in a vast area of Chattogram continued for the second consecutive day yesterday, causing untold sufferings to the port city dwellers and partially disrupting industrial production and power generation.
The sufferings may continue till today afternoon, although the authorities concerned are working to restore the gas supply.
The supply was suspended after an excavator of Chattogram City Corporation mistakenly made a hole in the pipeline during a digging work in Maitteli canal beside Akmal Ali Road on Saturday afternoon.
The key pipeline provides gas to Potenga, Halishahar, Fakir Hat, Agrabad, New Market, Sadarghat, Port and EPZ areas, according to the officials.
Apart from residential areas, Chattogram and Karnaphuli export processing zones, two power stations producing total 40MW electricity and several gas refuelling stations in those areas suffered a blow following the accident.
A large number of residents in the areas, mostly garment workers, are facing difficulties due to the crisis.
“We can't afford to buy food from restaurants for two days,” said Mohiuddin Islam, a resident of Halishahar area.
Rehena Begum, a worker at CEPZ, said she could not bring lunch with her. “I had to survive on bread due to the non-availability of gas.”
Meanwhile, queues continued to get longer in front of restaurants and filling stations in the affected areas.
Abdul Khaleque, driver of a CNG-run auto-rickshaw, said he had been standing in a line since Saturday night at Fossil CNG Filling Station in Solosahar area. “I am still waiting,” he told this newspaper around noon yesterday.
Khursed Alam, general manager of Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority, told The Daily Star that the gas crisis has been hampering production at two EPZs.
“To keep the production uninterrupted, we need 65MW of power every day; we get 40MW from the two gas-run power plants. Now the plants are shut down,” he added.
Power Development Board supplies them with rest of the power, which is now being used through rationing, he said.
Khaiz Ahmed Mazumdar, managing director of Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Limited (KGDCL), said after the pipeline got damaged, their officials rushed to the spot to assess the situation and started the repair work to restore the supply.
“Hopefully, we will be able to resume the supply by tomorrow [today] afternoon,” he told The Daily Star.
Ashim Barua, executive engineer of CCC, said the city corporation was building a retaining wall along the bank of Maitteli canal.
“There was a diagonal pipeline of KGDCL under the Maitteli canal. The pipeline was demarcated clearly on the east side. Our excavator was digging on the west side and damaged the supply line due to the wrong demarcation,” he alleged.
He said CCC workers along with KGDCL are working to fix it.