A family of five including an infant suffered varying degrees of burns when their illegal gas connection caused fires in the Ashulia area. The fact that there is a plethora of such illegal gas connections is hardly news. We hope the critically injured will pull through. This paper has been covering this issue for some years, and it is not as though the authorities are unaware of the dangers of these unauthorised connections given to buildings.
Back in 2014, we found, through investigative journalism, that some 12,000 illegal gas connections had been given in nine unions of Sonargaon Upazila under Narayanganj district. This is 2018, and the problem appears to have crept into the capital city. As seen in the Ashulia incident, these lines are being laid using substandard pipes and without the right technical support. This was an accident waiting to happen and it did.
Although Titas Gas officials do conduct drives once in a while to sever these lines, unfortunately the problem is that there are unscrupulous people within the state-owned gas company itself who are involved in the racket. Fingers have repeatedly been pointed at grassroots political elements associated with the ruling party that apparently manage the syndicates behind illegal connections. Such associations obviously enjoy a high degree of immunity from action by law enforcement agencies. But the result of inaction opens up the prospect of people being exposed to these fire-related accidents, often with deadly consequences.
How long will this illegal activity be allowed to continue? What about the loss to the national exchequer since these are unlawful connections and Titas Gas doesn't receive a dime for the precious gas being consumed? Mere publicity campaigns have never had the desired results. This is a criminal activity that has claimed lives or caused grievous injuries, and it must be treated as such.