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Acute Dhaka gas shortage reaches boiling point

Lack of supply is changing cooking habits, residents say

Acute Dhaka gas shortage reaches boiling point
A gas field in Bangladesh
Sumon Corraya, Dhaka

January 19, 2011

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An acute gas crisis in Dhaka is forcing many people to look at alternative ways of cooking their meals. Increased demand, poor infrastructure and the failure of past governments to find new gas sources has resulted in severe gas restrictions across the country. “There’s no gas supply during the day and it’s only available after 11:00 pm. We can’t cook meals at midnight, so I bought a kerosene stove as an alternative,” said Shibly Rozario, 23, a Catholic housewife from Nayanagar parish in eastern Dhaka. “The crisis has also increased family expenses, which is a blow since we are already suffering from soaring prices for daily essentials,” she lamented. Sumon Gomes, 26, from Tejgaon parish in central Dhaka told the gas crisis has made daily life much harder. “I’m forced to get up very early to cook as there’s no gas supply during the day. I cook once and eat the same dish three times a day,” he said yesterday. The crisis has taken away the freedom of cooking for some women, said Bimola Palma, 36, a housewife. “If my children ask me to cook noodles, I can’t because there is no gas. I can only cook once a day and that’s very early in the morning”, she exclaimed. Judith Jaba Rozario, 44, a Catholic teacher from Luxmibazar parish in old Dhaka said, “Sometimes I go to school without food because I am unable to cook anything. During winter it’s hard to eat food that has gone cold already,” she said. The government says it is looking at ways to overcome a shortfall of 500 million cubic feet of gas in the country. Abdul Aziz Khan, managing director of state-owned energy company Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution, said the company is planning to increase supply in Dhaka by laying bigger pipes. Related reports Italian widow cares for over 200 children in India, Nepal Church cautious about Thai government’s gifts BA12911.1637
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