We are alarmed to learn that a syndicate is openly stealing natural gas worth crores of taka from the gas supply lines each month and providing illegal gas connections in three upazilas of Brahmanbaria. According to a report by The Daily Star, the syndicate is even issuing fake "demand notes" and "bill books" to clients and collecting bills through accounts in different banks.
What's even more shocking—and what perhaps explains the recklessness with which the crimes are being carried out—is that a Union Parishad chairman as well as local political leaders are involved in the racket, according to locals. An official of the government-owned Bakhrabad Gas Distribution Company Limited (BGDCL), the organisation the syndicate is posing as, said that the criminals are so powerful they even harass and beat up BGDCL officials during disconnection drives.
How is it possible that such a group is allowed to operate so openly and sell at least 15,000 illegal gas connections, each for Tk 60,000-90,000? Are we to believe that the authorities aren't aware of its criminal activities or the involvement of influential people with close connections to the ruling party? Or are they simply too afraid to carry out their duties?
Use of illegal gas connections has become rampant all over the country, despite repeated assurances from the authorities that such connections would be permanently disabled and action would be taken against the fraudulent actors. The fact is, such illegal activities would continue if syndicates are allowed to operate with impunity as they are in Brahmanbaria. The BGDCL official himself has admitted that simply disconnecting the illegal pipes is not enough as the racket lays kilometres of illegal pipeline in one night. There's no alternative to taking stern and immediate action against the syndicate, particularly those who are (mis)using their positions of power.