Gas shortage suffocates textile mills

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Textile millers in the great industrial belt of Gazipur, Sreepur and Bhaluka yesterday urged the Minister of State for Energy, Power and Mineral Resources to end their ongoing gas crisis, which is currently preventing them from continue regular production.

Textile millers and other factories along this industrial belt produce some $10 billion worth of goods annually, particularly fabrics, yarns and finished garments. However, they have been suffering from low gas pressure for a few years.

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Gas pressure in industrial units in the region, including 300 textile factories, is so low that they can no longer continue their normal activities, according to factory operators.

“Sometimes millers can operate their units at only 20-30 percent capacity,” said Monsoor Ahmed, additional director of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).

Fazlul Haque, general manager of Israq Spinning, said his plant has the capacity to produce 120 tonnes of yarn per day, but currently only produces 50 to 55 tonnes.

Nearly 1,000 large, medium and small industrial units are located on this belt. Of these factories, about 300 are large textile factories that mainly supply fabrics and yarn for export-oriented garment factories, he added.

Fazlul Haque, general manager of Israq Spinning, said his plant has the capacity to produce 120 tonnes of yarn per day, but currently only produces 50 to 55 tonnes because the gas pressure is virtually non-existent between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.: midnight.

“The crisis has been even more serious in the last month because the pressure is too low,” Haque said.

Taslimul Haque, general manager of Square Group’s textile division, said production was down 30% due to low gas pressure in Maona, Gazipur and Bhaluka areas, where their factories are located.

For example, each unit can normally produce 50 tons of yarn per day, but now they only produce 30 tons per day, he added.

In this context, BTMA Chairman Mohammad Ali Khokon suggested the government to ration 100 pounds per square inch (PSI) of gas from the local Rural Power Company Ltd (RPCL) with a capacity of 250PSI in Dhanua to ensure adequate gas supply for local textile mills and factories.

BTMA detailed this request along with industry grievances in a letter yesterday to Nasrul Hamid, Minister of State for Energy, Electricity and Mineral Resources.

The letter also stated that if the RPCL’s 250PSI capacity compressor was replaced with a 150PSI compressor, the gas could be adequately supplied to the industrial units, which employ more than 10 lakh workers.

“At the same time, power generation will also continue at RPCL,” Khokon added.

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