The proposal to increase the price of natural gas by Titas Gas is totally unreasonable since this will pose an extra burden on the already burdened ordinary consumers, many of whom do not even get regular supply of gas. Residents of many areas of the capital have to face gas crisis due to shortage in supply. According to an official estimates, Titas Gas' total demand now stands at 2,000 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd), while its distribution capacity is only 1,650 mmcfd. There is also allegation against the company of providing illegal gas connections.
Many believe that inefficiency and irregularities within the company have led to an artificial gas crisis in the country. There have been allegations of corruption and inefficiency against Titas Gas for long, which have been reiterated by the energy experts at a public hearing held by BERC (Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission) on Tuesday. This is surprising as Titas is a profitable organisation. According to our report, it has a surplus income and it pays around Tk 250cr as dividend to its shareholders. It has also been providing loan to several power companies and power projects at a nominal interest rate.
Thus without addressing these inherent problems within the company, increasing the gas price is unjustified. Also, instead of importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) at a high cost to meet the gas shortage in the country, the government should find a permanent solution: strengthen the local gas reserve exploration programmes. Most of all, gas should be provided to all consumers at a reasonable rate.