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Bangladesh - April 18, 2022

Titas working to curb challenges

Though, there are many allegations against Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited, some officers of the company led by Managing Director (MD) Engineer Harunur Rashid Mollah are trying to do better with a view to restore its images.
“We are now trying to face two challenges in order to restore its good will,” said Harunur Rashid, while taking a special interview by the Daily Industry reporter Rabiul Haque.
Daily Industry: Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited is now going through a lot of discussions and criticisms. There are many complaints that, thousands of illegal gas links are running freely with the connivance of a class of Titas employees and contractors. On the other hand, no effective measures are being taken against the corrupt officials. Besides, there is no visible step to collect the pending bills. In this situation, the authorities concerned have remained under pressure by the concerned Energy Ministry. What do you think about to overcome the situation?
Harunur Rashid Mollah: “We are now conducting massive awareness campaign against use of illegal connection. We are also warning the people not to use illegal links. If someone does it, he or she will face action according to the rules. Besides, we are conducting drives against illegal connections and this crackdown will be continued. In this case, we will not listen to the recommendation or advocacy of any influential person or organization or political personality. The concerned state minister has strict instructions in this regard. The minister has also warned not to consider, if someone uses illegal connections by using his name.
Daily Industry: What steps are being taken now to overcome the situation?
Harunur Rashid Mollah: “We are cutting the main transmission line in the areas where there are more illegal connections. In this case, both the leegal and illegal lines are being snapped. But there is an option that, the legal customers can be restored their connections in a new manner subjected to be proved. But, the illegal customers can no longer use the line. There are also cases where legitimate consumers have protested against illegal gas connectors. Because of the lines of legitimate customers are being disconnected during the cut off the lines of illegal users. In this circumstance, the authorized consumers can protect them from the illegal users by forming a committee, which is a positive step.
Daily Industry: Do you want to say something about your capability?
Harunur Rashid Mollah: Titas has been supplying 80 percent of the gas in the country. In this situation, we are facing manpower crisis to carry our regular activities including conducting drives against illegal links. Due to lack of adequate manpower, it is not possible to disconnect illegal gas lines as per expectation. However, we are trying to increase the manpower to meet the needs and conduct massive operations.
Daily Industry: Have you any data over disconnection of illegal links?
Harunur Rashid Mollah: Obviously, I have. After my joining in the post, at least 136 special drives have been carried out in 420 spots, while some 70 mobile courts have been conducted. The 136-kilometers of line have been disconnected and use of more than 94,000 illegal burners and about 19,000 more legal burners have been snapped due to arrears. As many as 61 industrial lines have been disconnected due to illegal use, while 27 others for non-payment of arrears. In addition, 108 commercial connections and two connections of CNG filling stations have been disconnected. A fine of around Tk 90 lakh has also been realized in this regard. Besides disconnecting illegal connections, we have also started working with another challenge, which is to collect the pending bills. If the bill is due for three months, the line is being disconnected. No concession is allowing here. If someone pays the bill, he or she will get restoration of line.
Daily Industry: Are you getting response in collecting bills?
Harunur Rashid Mollah: Most of the customers are willing to pay the bills, but a handful of customers are not interested to pay the bills. In this case, we are creating pressure to pay the bills in many ways. Consequently, the collection from arrears has increased by about 20 percent compared to the previous period.
Daily Industry: What new facilities are being given for the customers?
Harunur Rashid Mollah: Old lines are being removed and new lines are being installed to increase the beneficiaries. Though, Titas’ arrears amount to Tk 6,600 crore, it has nothing to do with reality. This is because Titus sells about Tk 1.5 trillion worth of gas every month and collects the same amount of bills. In addition, customers are given 45 days for payment of the bills so that the bills of about Tk 3,000 crore are realized as arrears. However, Titus has arrears of about Tk 1,500 crore, which are under litigation. And the remaining bills of less than 1,500 crore are collected every month. Besides, Titas has been sold gas worth Tk 6,000 crore from December to March this year, but collected bills including arrears of Tk 8,400 crore.
Titas authorities will get arrears of Tk 723 crore from various government organizations, Tk 1316 crore from private power generation sector and Tk 1317 crore from various organizations under lawsuit.

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