<i>Gas crisis changes city life</i>
Ananya Begum, a resident in the city's South Kafrul, wakes up around 5:00am every day. She hurriedly prepares breakfast and lunch, as gas supply runs out in two hours.
Ananya has been doing it for more than a month, as she cannot afford to spend on a kerosene stove.
Many others in the area also face gas outage every day from 7:00am till evening.
For Moghbazar resident Fatima Akhtar Bristi, the cooking time starts shortly after midnight.
"We receive gas supply from 12:30am to 4:00am," said Bristi. She goes to bed at about 3:00am after cooking meals.
Like Ananya and Bristi, residents of Malibagh, Moghbazar, Mugda, Rampura, Rajabazar, Lalmatia, Jurain, Gandaria, Mirpur, Pallabi, Mohammadpur, Shajahanpur, Jatrabari, Kazipara and Shewrapara have to grapple with gas crisis that intensified last month.
"I have been using two kerosene stoves for a year as gas supply stops at 6:00am and resumes at 11:00pm," said Hena, a resident of South Mugda.
She has to spend Tk 450 a month on kerosene for running the stoves, she said.
Taking advantage of the situation, businessmen increased the prices of stoves and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders.
Alauddin Khan, manager of a shop at Kaptan Bazar, said both the sales and the prices of stoves have gone up. The price of a stove has gone up by Tk 20.
Mohammad Rafiqul Islam, a trader in the area, said the sales of stoves doubled after winter had set in.
Jubayer Hossain, an LPG cylinder seller of Dholaikhal, said the price of LPG cylinder rose by Tk 50.
"We sold around 10 cylinders a day before winter. Now the sale has doubled," he said.
Owners of the city's Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) filling stations are also in big trouble.
Abdul Gafur, an official of Padma Services Ltd at Dholaipar, said they have to suspend the operation of their CNG station from around 9:00am to 2:30pm due to a low pressure in gas pipeline.
Kamal Uddin, managing director of Sifat Filling Station in Jatrabari, said they receive only three PSI of gas against a required 15 PSI, resulting in a delay in refuelling vehicles.
The government should relax the restriction on operation of CNG filling stations from 5:00pm to 9:00pm across the country, he said.
Mohammad Khalid Hasan, general manager (operations) of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company, said it is not possible for them to solve the present crisis unless gas production increases.
He said there is a deficit of around 800 to 850 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of gas in the country and around 40-50 mmcfd in Dhaka city.
"We are trying to solve problems in gas pipeline network in some areas," he said.