Thousands of city dwellers are facing an acute crisis of gas this winter due to a rise in demand and a drop in gas pressure in the pipeline.
Although the supply of gas usually drops in the winter, the crisis is worse this year, many city dwellers said.
Since the winter set in, residents of Mohammadpur, Kafrul, Agargaon, Taltola, Shewrapara, Kazipara, Mirpur, Pallabi, Dhanmondi, Lalmatia, Shyamoli, Kalyanpur, East Rajabazar, Tejgaon, Uttara, Eskaton, Moghbazar, Mugda, Gendaria, Malibagh, Khilgaon, Ulan, Rampura, Jatrabari, and Mirhajirbagh have complained of either very low gas pressure or no gas supply at all.
Many people living in these areas said they were spending quite a bit of extra money buying food from outside, as they were unable to cook at home for lack of gas supply.
Fatema Begum, a housewife lives at Ulan in the capital’s West Rampura, has been forced to change her usual cooking habits over the past few days. She now cooks three meals at a time late in the night.
“I am not doing this by choice. Throughout the day, there is no pressure in the gas in my burner. The pressure appears in the pipeline after 11:00 pm and that is when I have to cook all the meals,” irritated Fatema told the daily sun.
Officials concerned said a drop in gas production, an increase in demand, faulty supply lines and illegal connections are the major reasons for the supply shortage of fossil fuel.
Shahzadi Khanam, a resident of Moghbazar, said, “We could not prepare breakfast at home over the last few days, because of low pressure in gas supply.”
While Shahnaz Begum, a resident of Bashabo, said she could not prepare lunch for her family due to gas crisis in the morning.
During winter, demand for gas usually goes up, especially in the households, because people need more fuel for heating activities such as for boiling water, warming rooms and clothes, and so on.
Besides, because of low temperatures, condensate accumulation rises, obstructing the proper flow of gas in the pipelines. Natural gas condensate is a low-density mixture of hydrocarbon liquids present as gaseous components in the raw natural gas produced from gas fields.
Farhana Hossain, a Mirhajirbagh resident, starts preparing breakfast and lunch for her family at 5:00 am, as the pressure of gas drastically drops after 6:00 am. She can cook again after 3:00 pm when the supply becomes normal.
Many residents complained that many parts of the city are enjoying full gas pressure in the pipeline though they are all paying the same amount.
Seeking anonymity, an official of Titas Gas said, “The majority of the pipelines installed in Dhaka are outdated and needed to be replaced.”
“These old pipelines are as narrow as 1.5–2 inches in diameter. If the pipes had been replaced with broader pipes, many households would have been spared from the crisis,” he added.
Besides, in recent times, some people are using home gas compressors to forcibly draw gas into their home burners. This means others are not getting whatever gas is available in the line, the official said.
He also said illegal gas lines and leakages were affecting gas pressure and supply at many places.
G M Ali Ashraf Ali, director (operations) of Titas Gas Distribution and Transmission Company, told the daily sun, “The crisis occurred due to the rise of demand in winter. The demand for gas rises around 15 to 20 percent during winter.”
Household gas consumption increases in winter as the city dwellers widely use gas stoves to dry clothes and boil water for everyday use, he added.