Gas crisis lingers, apparel exporters fear losses
A severe gas crisis continues to take a toll on production in garment factories in major industrial zones like Savar, Ashulia and Gazipur, said industry owners.
The crisis deepened further due to a stoppage of gas supply to the factories from CNG stations in those industrial areas, said a garment factory owner asking not to be named.
Savar, Ashulia, Dhamrai and Gazipur are the main industrial hubs for the garment sector.
At least 700 factories, especially the small ones, are in big trouble due to the gas shortage, he said.
Some of the small factories, which used to run by the gas from the CNG stations, stopped production a week ago and are counting losses now.
The factory owner said two types of businesses used to take gas from the CNG stations.
One, the factory owners who have gas connections but the pressure is low. So, they would take gas from the CNG stations to improve the pressure, he said.
Two, the factory owners who built factories many years ago but have not got gas connections from the government yet. They used to take gas from the CNG stations with cylinders to run the factories, he said.
“We stopped supplying gas to factories from the CNG stations for safety reasons. Also, it is not legal to take gas from CNG stations to run factories,” said Mir Mashiur Rahman, acting managing director of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd.
Titas stopped gas supply to the factories from five to seven CNG stations in Savar, Ashulia and Gazipur areas, he said, adding that Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission served show-cause notices on some of the CNG stations in those areas.
As a result, the garment factory owners are in deep trouble, with many lagging behind their production target. Shipment is also being delayed.
“We have been facing a severe gas crisis for more than one month due to the rupture in a gas pipeline at the Elenga point in Tangail a few days ago. The ruptured line has been repaired by the government but the gas pressure is low,” said the owner who runs a factory in Ashulia.
Garment factories in major industrial hubs are running below capacity due to the gas crisis, said Siddiqur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
If the gas crisis is not fixed permanently, the garment sector might not reach its target of hitting $50 billion in exports by 2021, Rahman said.