The Titas Gas Pipeline Construction Contractor Owners' Association has demanded the reestablishment of gas connections in residential areas to solve the unemployment problem of contractors and stop the proliferation of illegal gas connections.
Gazi Ibrahim Mahmud, general secretary of the association's central committee, said, "I demand the reestablishment of gas connections to the residential sector in the interest of the government's revenue collection and especially for the contractors and others concerned – for the sake of their living."
"We have been demanding for a long time that if the establishment of legal connections is resumed, the number of illegal connections will reduce significantly. Hopefully this time the government will listen to the demand," he said while speaking at a press conference at the Dhaka Reporters' Unity on Saturday morning.
Zakir Khan, president of the association's central committee, said the establishment of gas connections was cut off in the residential sector from September 2015 without notice.
Many customers of six companies under Petrobangla – Titas Gas, Bakhrabad Gas Systems, Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company, Pashchimanchal Gas Company Limited, Jalalabad Gas, and Sundarbans Gas – have deposited connection fees and deposits in the bank for a gas connection, he added.
However, they did not establish a gas connection even a long time after signing the contract and completing all the required procedures. As a result, the contractors have been unemployed for a long time, he added.
More than 100 contractors from different parts of the country attended the press conference and spoke about their suffering and hardships during the pandemic.
They said many contractors are living inhumane lives in financial difficulties while some are struggling to make ends meet. Many have stopped their children's education due to their financial situations.
Since 21 April, 2009, the Energy and Mineral Resources Division of the ministry has directed that the establishment of new residential gas connections be stopped across the country due to the gas crisis, however, some connections were established at the end of 2013.
After the parliamentary election on 5 January, 2014, the Energy Division informally asked to stop the establishment of residential gas connections.
Then, again on 21 May, 2019, the division officially asked all gas distribution companies not to establish new residential, commercial and CNG connections.