The High Court will deliver its order on March 31 on a petition that challenged the legality of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission's (BERC) ongoing public hearing for increasing gas price.
The HC bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader fixed the date after concluding hearing on the petition.
Convener of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Architect Mubassher Hossain submitted the petition on March 12, seeking stay on the process for increasing gas price.
During yesterday's hearing, petitioner's council Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua told the HC that BERC has organised the hearing in violation of relevant procedures.
As per BERC laws, gas price cannot be increased twice in a fiscal year, he argued, saying that the commission raised the bulk, distribution and transmission rates of LNG-blended gas on October 16 last year.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam appeared for Petrobangla, the licensing authority of gas distribution companies, and Advocate AFM Mesbahuddin argued for BERC. They said the writ petition is premature as no decision was taken yet for increasing the price.
BERC started the public hearing on March 11 on the proposals placed by six gas distribution companies -- Titas, Bakhrabad, Jalalabad, Pashchimanchal, Karnaphuli, and Sundarban for the price hike at consumer level.
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.
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, other trade bodies, groups and people are reportedly demanding scrapping of the plan. They called the gas distributors' proposal for doubling the average gas price -- from Tk 7.35 to Tk 14.91 per cubic feet -- unrealistic.