Titas Gas Company's target to install some 200,000 prepaid metres in Dhaka city is unlikely to be achieved within the timeframe of December 2018 due to leakages in service lines, faulty connections and consumers' unwillingness.
According to official sources, teams of the Titas Gas Company Ltd have to leave consumers' houses keeping 40 percent meters uninstalled.
They said the Titas-appointed contractor's inadequate manpower has made the project more critical delaying implementation of the project.
A top official of the Titas Gas Prepaid Meter project said these metres are very sensitive. "These won't work if there's any leak either in service line or in household connection. So, we've to suspend installation of the prepaid meters at those faulty connections."
State-owned Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd undertook the project, 'Installation of Prepaid Gas Meter', in 2013 for initially installing 200,000 meters at household connections in different areas, including Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara, Bashundhara, Badda, Tejgaon, Cantonment, Kafrul, Khilkhet, Uttara, Mirpur and adjacent areas in the city.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved the project involving Tk 712 crore fixing the project completion period between January 2015 and December 2018.
"But three-fourth of the total time was lost in red-tapism well before the start of the project," said an official.
Finally, he said, Titas started installing metres onSeptember 17last year, but started facing problems shortly.
Officials said when Titas moved for physical works, it found many of its service lines, which were laid underground from main gas lines in the streets to the consumers' houses, are faulty. It also found the house lines which are installed from gas connections' raising points to house-ovens are also leaked.
Officials said 13,174 metres were installedin three monthsand 10 days until December 26, 2017 although the plan was to install 23,000 metres during this time.
Contacted, Titas Gas Prepaid Metre Project Director Fazlur Rahman admitted that there problems and said they have sent letters to the consumers concerned asking them to fix the leaks with the help of Titas.
"But response from the consumers' end is very poor. Some 400 letters were sent but we've received little response," he said.
"Toyokeiki Co Ltd, the selected contractor, was asked to increase its manpower, but they look reluctant. It makes the situation critical causing further delay in the project work," one official said preferring anonymity.
Besides, there are allegations that local sub-contractors of the project are taking additional money from consumers if any leak is found in their gas connections during the metre installation.
Over the slow progress of the meter project, State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid said he is not very happy with the performance of the Energy Division.