Cold wave sweeping over the country, which has caused great inconvenience to people, especially the poor, for want of warm clothes, inadequate relief supplies and an increased incidence of cold-related diseases, has also come to harm cooking for those who use supply gas. The problem has been prominent in cities, especially the capital Dhaka, where gas pressure in household supply lines has fallen. The decline in pressure of supply gas has been acutely felt for a couple of days. And this sudden fall in gas pressure, as New Age reported on Friday, has held back citizens of a large city areas — Old Town, Razabazar, Indira Road, Jatrabari, parts of Mohammadpur, Mirpur, Kalabagan, Kanthalbagan, Khilgaon, Basabo, Malibagh, Rampura, Banasree, Badda and Uttara — from cooking their meals. Residents of many areas in Comilla and Chittagong are also reported to have been facing the problem. People in many of these areas have been forced to wake up early in the morning to prepare the breakfast. Students and office-goers have found it difficult to take food for their mid-day meals. The elderly and children have also faced problems as they could not be given warm water for washing.
Once the pressure starts falling, people in many areas need to wait till 3:30pm to prepare the meals. The situation has severely strained people’s life. Yet gas pressure in supply lines falling during winter is nothing new. It has been a regular winter phenomenon. The demand for supply gas, to heat water apart from cooking, increases this time, on the one hand, while problems in gas transmission and distribution start surfacing, on the other hand, making people’s life miserable. The problem being typical of every winter, there has hardly been any preparedness on part of the government to save the people from this trouble. The cold wave has been sweeping over the country for about a week now. Yet the gas transmission authorities having no plans ready to tackle this problem means that there has been no coordination between government agencies. The meteorological department issues warnings and gives predictions but other agencies, which need to listen to such warnings and predictions, seem to be ignoring them. The government should alert its agencies to having plans in advance to minimise the sufferings of the people. This not happening in a planned way every winter brings to the fore the government’s apathy towards people, which is unacceptable.
While people pay for the gas, and at an increased rate at intervals, people should get the service. Government inaction in this connection only compounds people’s sufferings. Under the circumstances, the government must attend to the problem at hand, early and earnestly, and put in place a comprehensive plan so that the same problem does not take place in future.
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