There would have been no need to increase the gas price even if half of the corruption in Petrobangla and Titas was reduced, the High Court said yesterday.
The gas price should increase or decrease according to the international market, the court said while hearing a writ petition challenging the legality of Bangladesh Energy Regularity Commission's (BERC) public hearing for a gas price hike.
The court also asked why Bangladesh should purchase the gas for $10 while India purchased the same quantity for $6.
Expressing anger over the Anti Corruption Commission's role in fighting corruption in Petrobangla and Titas, the court said the commission had not taken any effective action against their corruption. The ACC is an independent commission empowered to taken stern action against corruption, it added.
The commission should quit if it cannot work independently.
The HC bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader asked the BERC to submit a report about the gas price before it.
Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua represented the writ petitioner and deputy attorney general ABM Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar the government.
Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Convener Mubassher Hossain submitted the petition on March 12, seeking stay on the process of gas price hike.
The HC fixed March 31 to deliver its order on the petition.
BERC started the public hearing on March 11 on the proposals placed by distribution companies Titas, Bakhrabad, Jalalabad, Pashchimanchal, Karnaphuli, and Sundarban for the price hike.
Titas and Sundarban have demanded 208 percent hike for gas consumed by power plants, 211 percent for fertiliser companies, 96 percent for captive power plants, 132 percent for industries, 41 percent for commercial entities, and 50 percent for CNG-run vehicles.
They are seeking 80 percent rise in monthly gas bill for both single-burner and double-burner cooking stoves, from Tk 750 to Tk 1,350 and from Tk 800 to Tk 1,440 respectively.