- 625 mills did not pay gas bills for two months to ten years
- Of them, 165 are members of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association
- Titas notifies the association about the members' non-payments
- Over Tk100 crore dues, the gas supplier snapped connection to Sinha Group Thursday
- Gas lines to other factories will be cut off if they fail to clear the dues immediately
With more than Tk747 crore dues to 625 textile and garments manufacturers until May this year, the Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited now gets tough to recover the outstanding bills.
On Thursday, Titas cut off the gas line to Sinha Textile Group over the dues of Tk100 crore as the gas supplier failed to recover the amount even after repeated notices and warnings.
According to the gas supplier, other top gas bill defaulters are — Padma Textile Mills Limited, Mother Textile Mills Ltd, Beximco Group and Monno Fabrics Ltd.
The factories did not pay the gas bills from two months to a maximum of around ten years. Since 2018, the government has been bringing in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the import bills have to be cleared as soon as the carrier docks. Any delay in the payments meets with additional fines.
The import payments led to a cash crunch in Titas resulting in the distributor to get tough now against the dues.
Titas said it contacted the defaulters over the payments, but did not get the expected feedback. Subsequently, the distributor reached out to the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) seeking cooperation in due recoveries.
In the meantime, the gas distribution company has ramped up its drives against domestic connections with dues.
Contacted, Titas Gas Managing Director Engineer Ali Iqbal Md Nurullah said, "We sought cooperation from the BTMA and BGMEA. If the factories do not clear the bills, we will have no options but to snap the lines."
"We cannot allow the bills unpaid for years since we are importing the LNG with payments in advance," he added.
Titas, the country's largest gas distribution company, supplies 1,700 million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcfd) in Dhaka and Mymensingh, while its total supply across the country is around 3,295 mmcfd.
'Titas list not updated'
A textile mill owner claimed Titas's list was not updated as his company was on the defaulter list though he cleared the gas bills in time.
As per the Titas list, the company Ishraq Spinning Mills Ltd's outstanding gas bill amounts to Tk4.82 crore.
Fazlul Hoque, the head of the company who is also the senior vice-president of the BTMA, told The Business Standard, "I have been paying the gas bills regularly. But my company is on the list as Titas did not update the payment information."
The BTMA has already sent letters to some of its members asking to clear the gas bills, sources at the association told TBS.
At the same time, the BTMA has also requested Titas to allow the defaulters to clear the dues in installments considering the pandemic-led business slump.