Golam Mostafa Jibon: Allegation of misappropriating crores of Taka through providing illegal gas connections by violating directives in exchange of bribe has been intensified against Engineer Harunur Rashid Mollah, Managing Director (MD) of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited (TGTDCL).
According to Petrobangla, most of the power plants have remained closed due to short supply of gas. There has been partial production somewhere. Most of the power plants have been lying idle due to gas shortage. Due to ongoing gas crisis, the electricity department has issued strict instructions not to provide gas connection to captives. If the captive power is more than 10 MW, prior approval of the Electricity Department is mandatory for gas connection. But the state owned company Titas Gas is not following that directive. The institution is providing connections without any verification.
New captives have been approved to 12.93 MW Chaiti Composite Textiles in Narayanganj, 12.25 MW Sky BD Limited in Tongi and 12.51 MW Premier Cement Factory in Munshiganj. The load of Matin Spinning Mill has been increased to 22.04 MW. There is an obligation to take prior permission of the Electricity Department for gas connection to captives above 10 MW. In order to avoid that obligation, the same industrial plant was found to provide connections with separate IDs. NR Group factory located at Jamirdia in Bhaluka has received information on providing connectivity with separate IDs. Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited (TGTDCL) has recently approved 24.92 MW captive gas connection to NR Group with three different customer signals. Of them, 16.25 MW was given in the name of NRG Spinning Mills, while 3.87 MW was given to NRG Composite Yarn Dyne and 4.80 MW to NRG Knit Composite. All have the same address. It means that the fraud has been resorted to using different names. Those concerned are seeing Titas’s involvement in such irregularities.
Allegation of irregularities in context of giving approval has found here. Approval was givent to NRG Composite Yarn Dine from 3.87 MW to 11.94 MW and NRG Knit Composite from 4.80 MW to 6.20 MW. Another new (7.78 MW) connection named NRG Hometex has been approved in the same compound.
In the board meeting held on July 21 last, the captive run of M/s Square Apparels Limited (Customer Signal Number-379/8790126) located at Jamirdia area was increased by 47,889 cubic feet (per hour).
Captive load of M/s B. J. Bed Weaving Limited (Customer Signal No. 322/832-000980) was increased in the same board.
Besides, approval was given to Bangladesh Export Import Company Limited and M/s Sachchan Company (BD) for new captive connection on April 26.
Earlier in the 881st board meeting on April 9, around 16 captive connections were rearranged. The incumbent officer has set a new precedent by connecting gas to captives every month. Behind these connections, there is an allegation of amassing billions of Taka against Titas Gas Managing Director Engineer Harunur Rashid Mollah.
It is mentionable that, Titas is struggling to supply gas to their existing customers. CNG filling stations have to be rationed in various ways including closure. At the same time, energy experts questioned this trade in the name of new captive connectivity.
Energy expert Shamsul Alam, Senior Vice-President of CAB said, “Gas supply should not be given to inefficient captive power plants. Gas connection is being given to these captives in national interest. Here dishonest person is working for interest. Allegation that some people are benefiting from this is not unfounded.”
After Harunur Rashid Mollah was appointed on contract basis, Titas’ service quality has gone down. Files are not moved without bribes, it is now an open secret. There is frequent evidence that it takes six months to report a broken meter and it takes years to test the meter. To change industrial boilers and generators, prior approval of Titas is required. Even after spending crores of Taka to bring gas efficient boilers, it is not being approved. Bribery is started from Zonal office. Bribe is needed at every table. Hundreds of applications are still pending in various zonal offices.
An industrial owner on condition of anonymity said that, they have brought generators and boilers at the cost of several crores of Taka. After applying in 2020, Titas has not yet been given approval. Many people like me are sitting with machines and not getting approval. But the government is repeatedly encouraging the use of gas efficient machines.
While contacted, Titas Gas Managing Director Engineer Harunur Rashid Mollah declined to make any comment in this regard.
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