Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited plans to use religious discipline to stop illegal gas connections and the unauthorised use of energy. It has decided to declare the use of such gas "haram" – an Arabic term meaning "forbidden" – to be announced by the imams of mosques.
The country's largest gas distribution company has also received verbal approval from the Energy and Mineral Resources Division.
Gas distribution companies have taken various measures at different times to stop illegal connections and unauthorised use of the energy.
These included disconnecting illegal lines and imposing fines by conducting mobile courts and publishing advertisements on television and in newspapers to create awareness.
But even after these programmes, distribution companies could not control illegal connections. So in addition to the existing programme, Titas Gas has taken up a plan to capitalise on the religious sentiments of people.
At a recent coordination meeting of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division, Titas Gas Managing Director, Engineer Ali Iqbal Md Nurullah, made a proposal in this regard.
He said every Friday before prayers, imams deliver sermons in mosques. If the message is conveyed through imams that it is "haram" to use gas with illegal connections, then the public will be made much more aware.
The senior secretary of the energy division, who chaired the meeting, agreed with the proposal and directed the authorities concerned to send a message to mosques across the country.
He said, if necessary, action can be taken through the Islamic Foundation.
Asked about this, Titas Gas Managing Director, Engineer Ali Iqbal Mohammad Nurullah, told The Business Standard, "Preparations are underway to send the proposal. We will send it to imams only after receiving the official approval of the energy division."
According to the energy division, among the six gas distribution companies, Titas Gas areas have the most illegal connections.
In addition to the loss of state resources, various accidents and deaths have been reported from these illegal lines at different times. On September 4 last year, 32 people died in a gas explosion at a mosque in Narayanganj on the outskirts of the capital.
After that incident, the energy division formed this committee to disconnect illegal gas connections across the country. The committee was ordered to disconnect all illegal gas connections by 31 December last year.
By the end of 2020, Titas had removed 620 kilometres of illegal gas lines and disconnected 309,159 other burners, according to a report from the energy division.
Bakhrabad Gas Distribution Company has disconnected 12,264 burners and removed 37km of illegal lines.
According to the report, there are still 136 kilometres of illegal gas lines and unauthorised connections to 22,049 burners.