Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Dhaka groans under acute utility crisis

Life in the capital turned miserable with mercury rising to a boiling point, power cuts becoming seemingly never ending and water taps and gas burners drying up amid an acute crisis of utilities.
A nagging traffic congestion added to the woes, forcing the city’s 13 million people to pass some of the worst times in their living memories.
Officials said a growing demand gap worsened the crisis at the approach of summer, as the existing utility infrastructure can meet 60 per cent of the capital’s power demand, 80 per cent of its water need and some three-fourths of gas requirement.
“Large parts of the city don’t have gas, water and power supply two-thirds of a day,” said a Dhaka City Corporation official.
A massive shortfall of gas first triggered the crisis, with hundreds of thousands of cooking burners becoming the first victim followed by power generation and water supply.
“Gas crisis has sharply cut down power output in state-owned plants. As a result, the city gets only 60 per cent of its actual electricity demand,” said a power official.
“The woes have been compounded with the rising of temperature to nearly 40 degree celsius midway through this month and diversion of power to the rural areas for boro paddy farming,” he said.
Everyday since early this month, the Power Development Board has been diverting at least 1,000 megawatt of power — or one-fourth of the country’s total generation — to villages to operate pumps for irrigating farmland.
Rising temeperature also spiked use of fans and air coolers, which guzzle more power than any other electronic or electric appliances.
Power crisis coupled with scorching sun also brought the city’s water supply infrastucture down to its knee, shutting down hundreds of thousands of household pumps better parts of the day.
Dhaka Wasa, which supplies running water to the residents, said power crisis has also cut lifting of underground water by its 546 deep pumps.
“We have the daily capacity to supply 1.95 billion litres of water to the capital against a demand of 2.20 billion litres,” said Taqsem A Khan, its managing director.
“But due to the power crisis we cannot ensure maximum supply,” he said, adding the layer of water in underground aquifers is also going down fast, making it hard to lift water at a desired pace.
He said hot summer has almost dried up rivers that supply 13 per cent of the city’s water and the lack of rains means the underground aquifers, source of the rest 87 per cent water, have not been replenished.
While residents hope that rains in the coming month would ease water crisis to a great extent, they see no end to the gas crunch that worsened since last winter.
“Titas officials had said poor gas pressure was due to the winter. But even in hot days, we get gas supply only in the morning and evening,” said Rubina Alam, a resident of city’s Jurain area.
Officials of Titas, which is the lone supplier of gas in the city, said there is no way to escape from the current crisis, as soaring demand has outstripped supply by at least 20-30 per cent.
“And there is also no short-cut remedy as the country has not seen new explorations for years. We have to manage the demand with whatever supply we get from our gasfields,” said a Titas official, requesting anonymity.
The official said the problem of low gas pressure has now affected all parts of the sprawling metropolis . He said Titas has urged the government to shut down CNG filling stations throughout the day to offset the crisis.
A gas-guzzling fertiliser factory is expected to be closed down temporarily to divert its supply to the capital, he said, adding: “It is now up to the government to make decision as both are tricky issues.”
Petrobangla supplies more than 1,960 million cubic feet of natural gas a day against the demand of around 2,500 million cubic feet of gas. Demand is growing nearly 10 per cent annually due to a booming economy.
Traffic jams, meanwhile, worsened as record number of cars and buses are hitting the capital’s narrow lanes every day — thanks largely to a rapid increase of nouveu riches in the country.
The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority said last year around 100 cars, microbuses and buses were registered in the capital every day.
The government has staggered weekly holidays for shops, shopping arcades and commercial establishments after dividing the capital into seven zones. It also set different office timings for schools and offices.
Dhaka Metroplitan Police has deployed more law enforcers on to the streets and demarcated the main arteries in several lanes as part of a wide ranging moves to manage traffic.
But nothing seemed to have worked amid an influx of new cars every day. Lack of mass transit system in the ever expanding city has rubbed salt to the wounds.
“People like us who use public transports suffer most as we have to wait in queue before a bus arrives,” said Ahsan Habib, a private banker. “There is no respite even if we board a bus as we endure another round of suffering due to the jam.”

Courtesy of The Financial Express

Related News

Eid-ul-Azha on June 17

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The holy Eid-ul-Azha will be celebrated in Bangladesh on June 17 (Monday) as the crescent moon of the Zilhaj month was sighted in Bangladesh’s sky on Friday evening (7 June). The National Moon Sighting Committee came up with the decision after reviewing information about the sighting of the moon at a ... Read more

Cyclone Remal: 40 dead animals found, 17 rescued hurt in Sundarbans

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The forest department officials on Tuesday said that so far they found 39 dead deer and a pig in the Sundarbans after the severe cyclone Remal that hit the forest on Sunday. Primarily they have estimated infrastructural damage of Tk 6.27 crore in the forest while the total damage, including animals ... Read more

Cyclone Remal claims at least 14 lives, affects nearly 37.58 lakh people in 19 districts

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Following its devastating impact into Bangladesh on Sunday night, Cyclone Remal has affected over 37.58 lakh people in 19 districts and taken at least 14 lives. While the cyclone has weakened into a deep depression, hundreds of villages in the southern parts of the country remain submerged. The Bangladesh Meteorological Department ... Read more

Alert issued as Cyclone Remal develops

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A weather alert has been issued by the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) as a low-pressure system in the southwest and west central Bay of Bengal gains strength, potentially developing into Cyclone Remal by Saturday. The system, currently moving northeastward, is expected to transform into a depression by early Friday. By Saturday, ... Read more

Cyclone ‘Remal’ likely to hit Bangladesh coasts on 26 May: Meteorologist

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Cyclone Remal is likely to make landfall between 6:00am and 12:00pm on 26 May in Bangladesh, affecting coastal areas from the Barguna in Barishal Division to Cox’s Bazar in the Chattogram Division, a meteorologist said today (21 May). The front of the cyclone may begin to enter coastal areas after 6:00am, ... Read more

5 consecutive days holiday for Eid-ul-Adha

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Government employees are scheduled to get five consecutive days off on Eid-ul-Azha. This includes two days of weekly holidays (Friday and Saturday) followed by another three days for Eid, according to government holiday list. Eid-ul-Azha is likely to be celebrated on June 17 this year.

Heavy rains, storms forecast for entire week

Schools open today after heatwave closures News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) forecasts heavy rainfall with thunderstorms across the country this week, starting on Tuesday and lasting through Saturday. As per the analysis of mathematical model of rainfall index, Bangladesh is likely to witness heavy to very heavy rainfall with thunderstorms starting ... Read more

Waiting for the rain

Tawsia Tajmim As the sun blazes relentlessly, desperate craving rises for rain, for nothing soothes Mother Nature quite like its cool embrace. After a brutal month-long heatwave, residents of Chattogram, Sylhet, and Dhaka finally caught a break with some rain on 2 May. However, the downpour was not strong enough to completely wash away the ... Read more

Hajj registration extended till Jan 18

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The government, in a notice issued yesterday, extended the Hajj registration deadline for 2024 until January 18. It said aspiring Hajis would have to primarily deposit Tk 2.05 lakh, while the rest should be paid by February 29 for final registration. One has to pay Tk 5,78,840 under the general package, ... Read more

Dense fog disrupts communications across Bangladesh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Cold and dense fog continued to disrupt life with road, air and waterways communication remaining suspended in the early hours of Tuesday as Bangladesh braces for this winter’s first cold wave likely to set in today. Authorities also confirmed until Tuesday the death of 14 people in cold-related diseases and road ... Read more

27,000 GPA 5 achievers not to get seat in public universities

Shahin Akhter Over 27,000 GPA 5 achievers in this year’s HSC and equivalent examinations cannot be admitted to the public universities due to fewer seats. A total of 92,595 examinees secured GPA 5 out of total 10,67,852 passed in the Higher Secondary Certificate examinations this year. But there are around 65,400 seats at the public ... Read more

Magnitude 5.5 earthquake jolts Dhaka, other parts of Bangladesh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck Bangladesh this morning, the United States Geological Survey said, with no immediate reports of damage. The earthquake jolted different parts of the country including Dhaka around in Ramganj of Cumilla at 9:35am, reports The Daily Star quoting Meteorologist Rubayet Kabir of Bangladesh Meteorological Department. The quake ... Read more

250cc Bajaj Pulsar N250 launched in Bangladesh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Uttara Motors, the manufacturer and distributor of Bajaj motorcycles in Bangladesh, has recently launched The Pulsar N250 motorcycle. Pulsar N250 comes with a price tag of Tk339,999 and is available in three different colours. The motorcycle with a 250 cc oil-cooled engine has got dual channel antilock braking system (ABS). Indian ... Read more

HSC, equivalent exam results tomorrow

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The results of this year’s Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and its equivalent examinations will be published tomorrow. The copy of the results will be handed over to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina tomorrow morning. Later in the day, the results will be officially announced by Education Minister Dipu Moni at a press ... Read more

Gold hits record with a bhori of Tk 106,376

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The jewelry makers of the country has increased 22-carat gold price by Tk 1,750 today. Tomorrow, the price of 22-carat gold will reach a historic high of Tk 106,376 per bhori. The new price is 1.67 percent higher than the previous all-time high of Tk 104,626 per bhori (11.664 grammes) recorded ... Read more

Gold’s price reaches a new peak

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Gold price in the country has surged to a record Tk1.04 lakh per bhori due to a rise in the rates of pure gold in the local market. The price of the best quality gold or one bar of 22-carat (11.664 grams) gold has been increased by Tk 1,750 to Tk104,626 ... Read more

Bangladesh permits 375cc domestically produced motorcycles

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Bangladesh government has allowed locally made motorcycles of up to 375cc along with the existing imported motorcycles of up to 165cc to facilitate the expansion of the local industrial sector. The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, under the road transport and bridges ministry, on Wednesday issued a circular in this regard. It ... Read more

Four-day tourism festival begins in Dhaka

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A four-day long festival to boost local tourism will be launched on September 27 in Dhaka to celebrate World Tourism Day 2023. The Bangladesh Tourism Board under the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism will organise the festival titled ‘Bangladesh Festival’ at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. The festival will be ... Read more

Bangladesh Railway launches luggage vans with intercity trains

News Desk : dhakamirror.com To significantly increase the supply of perishable items, agricultural and other goods, Bangladesh Railway (BR) combined luggage vans with intercity trains on Sunday. The first van was combined with Sylhet bound intercity train “Joyantika Express”. Jayantika Express transported 4,600 kg of goods from Dhaka to Sylhet as Bangladesh Railway’s first intercity ... Read more

Bangabandhu Tunnel: Government sets toll ranging from Tk200 to Tk1,000

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The government has set toll rates for using the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel built under the Karnaphuli River in Chattogram, ranging from 200 Tk for cars to 1,000 Tk for 4-axle trailers, which is slated for inauguration in September. The Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges issued a circular in ... Read more