Staff Correspondent: GM Quader, Jatiya Party chairman and deputy leader of the opposition in the Jatiya Sangsad, yesterday denounced the move of increasing the retail price of gas by terming it “anti-people”.
“If the government decides to do so, it will only prove that they do not have any compassion for the people of the country,” GM Quader made the remark in a statement issued yesterday.
Recently, state-owned liquefied natural gas distributors have proposed raising retail rates by up to around 100% claiming that the move is to adjust with the inflated importing rates, plus to calibrate the government power subsidy and spending gap.
If the proposal is accepted, consumers will have to pay Tk19-20 per cubic metre of gas, while the current rate is Tk9.80, according to sources at the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC).
In the statement yesterday, GM Quader noted that customers pay Tk975 per month for a two-burner gas stove. According to the proposed rate, it will shoot up to Tk2,100. For residential and industrial uses, gas prices will increase from Tk9.36 per cubic metre to Tk20.35 and Tk13.85 to Tk30 respectively. Moreover, the price of gas used in fertiliser and power plants has been proposed to increase from Tk4.45 to Tk9.66 and the price for hotels & restaurants will be Tk50 from Tk30, while it has been proposed to soar from Tk35 to Tk75 for auto refuelling.
“All these numbers will cause a catastrophic effect on the life of common people. The additional price will be realised from people either directly or indirectly and this burden will make their life miserable,” he said.
“People are already deprived of persistent gas supply even after paying bills regularly,” the JP chairman decried, adding that the cost of living has multiplied due to the rising oil and electricity prices amid the pandemic, a time when people are already struggling to make their ends meet.
He further said gas price hikes will push up production costs of export-oriented factories substantially.
“This will threaten the industries, especially the country’s readymade garment sector. Subsequently international buyers could turn away from Bangladesh, which will cause devastation,” said the JP chief.
He suggested that the proposal of hiking gas prices should be shelved for now even if it requires deferring spending for mega projects.
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