The crisis over supply of gas to households and industries is almost over thanks to the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Chattogram. Earlier, the gas shortage made lives of the people in the port city miserable. New gas connections to households, however, are still suspended and prepaid meters have been distributed among the users. So the supply of gas for household use is normal now.
The Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Limited (KGDCL) is supplying gas for industrial units in the Sitakunda Industrial Area. It is now going to supply gas for the Mirerswari Economic Zone (MEZ). After a halt to new gas connections in the industrial sector of Chattogram in 2006, the government took a decision to resume new connections for industrial units in the port city last year. Following the decision, the KGDCL is providing gas connections to 101 industrial units at Sitakunda now. The KGDCL started issuing demand notes for new gas connections for 101 units and five captive power companies recently.
The new gas connections to industrial units were suspended in 2006 without any written decision. Despite the government's withdrawal of the decision to give new gas connections to industrial units in 2010 and the authorities of approval of new gas connections to 92 new industrial units in Dhaka, the authorities did not approve any new connections for industrial units in Chattogram until last year. However, later, the authorities gave approval for new gas connections for 101 industrial units and five captive power companies in Chattogram last year.
Mahabubul Alam, president of Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said, "The production in the industrial sector was being severely hampered due to inadequate gas supplies. The production in steel mills, factories in the readymade garment (RMG) sector and other industrial units already collapsed as the authority was supplying only half the required quantity of gas."
He said, "Gas is one of the most important factors for industrial and economical development of the country as well as the port city of Chattogram. Investments worth over billions of taka by industrialists in the port city are lying idle due to the gas shortage which is hampering production severely in Chattogram."
However, he expressed the satisfaction over the decision to resume new gas connections to new industrial units here in the port city. But "the price for gas should be same," he added.
Chattogram Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CMCCI) President Khalilur Rahman said, "It is true that there is no adequate gas reserve in our country. So, we have to import LNG from other countries. At last, the government is importing LNG and has resumed approval of gas connections in the industrial sector in Chattogram."
On the other hand, the supply of gas to the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Industrial City at the MEZ, the first economic zone of the country, will start in the current year. The KGDCL has already set up a 17km pipeline under the project named "Construction of Gas Pipelines for MEZ". The new gas line is ready for supply of gas to the MEZ now.
Primarily, the demand for gas at the MEZ is 500 million cft. But, later the demand will increase to 750 million cft after opening of all industrial units there. Of the total demand, the MEZ will use a total of 40 million cft for production of power.
A 167MW power station has already been constructed at the MEZ. It is a dual-fuel power station. BR Power Zone Limited, a concern of Bangladesh Power Development Board (PDB), is constructing the power station at the MEZ. The KGDCL has already received the application for supply of gas to the power station.
There is a 16-inch diameter pipeline for the MEZ which will supply 200 million cft of gas per day. Jin One Chemical Company Limited has also applied to the KGDCL for gas supply. Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) has applied for 500 million cft of gas for all industrial units at the MEZ. Work on the project is going on to supply the gas.
General Manager (Engineering) of KGDCL Engineer Sarwar Hossain said, "We are trying to complete the project as early as possible to ensure the supply of gas to the industries in the MEZ. We'll complete the installation of all pipelines for MEZ within a short time."
Project Director of the "Construction of Gas Pipelines for MEZ" project Engineer A N M Saleh said, "We have completed installation of the 17km gas line for the MEZ. The gas line has been set up from Boro Darogahat area under Sitakunda upazila to the MEZ at Mirerswari upazila. We started test supply to the gas line on August 30 last."
Former minister and lawmaker from Mirerswari Engineer Mosharraf Hossain MP said, "MEZ will change the lives of people of Chattogram as many people will work there. The government has already prepared 10,000 acres of land for setting up industries at the MEZ. After construction of the industries at the MEZ, the total area will change as happened in Singapore."
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