A government high-level committee yesterday decided to give 2,000 new gas connections to industrial units on a priority basis. The new gas connections would be given after a thorough background check of the industries by the security agencies. The decision was made during a meeting at the Advisory Committee held at the Prime Minister Office (PMO) with Dr Tawfique-E-Elahi Chowdhury, energy advisor to the prime minister, in the chair. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, Energy Secretary Nazimuddin Ahmed and Power Secretary Dr Ahmed Kaikaus were present at the meeting.
A source present at the meeting told The Independent that out of the planned 2,000 new gas connections, 1,100 would likely be given to industries under the jurisdiction of Titas Gas alone.
The committee has approved the proposal of giving new gas connections under one condition only: the background and the nature of the applicant’s business would be thoroughly verified by the national security agencies, told a source present at the meeting.
Earlier, the government, after a five year long hiatus, gave 250 new connections to the industries last year. Amidst the dwindling gas reserves, the new connections were given as there was huge pressure on the government from the business entities for laying out new connections.
Industry experts are speculating that the decision of giving new gas connections is likely being taken as new gas reserves nearing about two trillion cubic feet (TCF) were discovered at island district Bhola, at the southern end of the country.
According to sources in the Energy Division, more than 2,500 industries have applied for gas connections in the past three to five years. But the high-powered committee, headed by Chowdhury, made a shortlist by considering the applicants’ need for gas and their possible contribution to the country’s economy after getting the connections.
The country now produces 2,700 MMCF (million cubic feet) of gas per day against a demand for more than 3,300 MMCF. But the situation is expected to ease after imported LNG is injected into the national grid next year.