Gas shortage chokes textile millers
Textile millers across the greater Gazipur, Sreepur and Bhaluka industrial belt yesterday urged the state minister for energy, power and mineral resources to put an end to their perennial gas crisis, which is currently preventing them from continuing smooth production.
Textile millers and other factories along this industrial belt annually produce some $10 billion worth of goods, particularly fabric, yarn and finished garments. However, they have been suffering from low gas pressure for the past few years.
The gas pressure at industrial units in the region, including 300 textile mills, is so low that they can no longer run their normal activities, according to factory operators.
"At times, millers can run their units at just 20 to 30 per cent capacity," said Monsoor Ahmed, additional director of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).
Fazlul Haque, managing director of Israq Spinning, said his mill has the capacity to produce 120 tonnes of yarn a day but it only makes some 50 to 55 tonnes at present
Nearly 1,000 large, medium and small industrial units are located on this belt. Of these factories, around 300 are large textile mills that mainly supply fabrics and yarn for export-oriented garment factories, he added.
Fazlul Haque, managing director of Israq Spinning, said his mill has the capacity to produce 120 tonnes of yarn a day but it only makes some 50 to 55 tonnes at present as the gas pressure is practically non-existent between 6:00pm and 7:00am.
"The crisis has been even more severe over the last one month as the pressure is too low," Haque said.
Taslimul Haque, general manager of Square Group's textile division, said production has declined 30 per cent because of low gas pressure in the Maona, Gazipur and Bhaluka areas, where their factories are located.
For instance, each unit can normally produce 50 tonnes of yarn a day but they now produce only 30 tonnes a day, he added.
With this backdrop, BTMA President Mohammad Ali Khokon suggested the government ration 100 pounds per square inch (PSI) of gas from the 250PSI capacity local Rural Power Company Ltd (RPCL) at Dhanua to ensure adequate gas supply for local textile mills and factories.
The BTMA detailed this request as well as the industry's grievances in a letter to Nasrul Hamid, the state minister for energy, power and mineral resources, yesterday.
The letter also said if the 250PSI capacity compressor of the RPCL is swapped for a 150PSI compressor, gas could be supplied adequately to the industrial units, which employ more than 10 lakh workers.
"At the same time, power production will also continue at the RPCL," Khokon added.