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Friday, November 9, 2012
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Stop new gas links

HC asks govt

The High Court yesterday directed the government to stop giving new gas connections until further orders and to submit in four weeks a list of officials and staff found responsible for providing illegal gas lines.

It gave the managing directors of Bakhrabad and Titas Gas transmission and distribution companies two weeks' time to report on the blocking of new unauthorised gas lines.

The government on July 13, 2010 decided not to give any new gas connection for either household or industrial purposes.

In response to a writ petition, the HC yesterday directed secretaries to the ministries of finance and energy and chairman of Petrobangla to form a six-member expert body to investigate the allegation of illegal gas lines.

The HC also asked the authorities to report within the period how many illegal gas connections had been given and how much gas had been illegally consumed till date.

On hearing the petition, Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif also issued a rule upon the government officials concerned to explain in four weeks why new connections for supplying gas should not be declared illegal.

Secretaries to the ministries of finance and energy, chairman of Petrobangla, managing directors of Bakhrabad and Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Companies Ltd and chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission have been made respondents to the rule.

Advocate Manzill Murshid submitted the writ petition on behalf of the Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh, seeking a directive on the authorities concerned to take appropriate action against the corrupt government officials.

He moved the petition after two reports were published in Bangla daily Prothom Alo on illegal gas connections and the corruption involved.

The consumers, who got gas lines legally, were not getting gas due to the illegal supply, Manzill said, adding that corruption was increasing in this sector as the government had not taken any step against the unscrupulous officials and staffs.

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Gas is the lifeblood of progress and Bangladesh owns gas resources. Why is than our economy paralyzed? Why our entrepreneurs are held hostage? There is no shortage of t-shirts or smart phones or other economic goods provided in the world. Apple has no issue of giving out more iphones than they get paid for. No HC order is needed to stop iphone selling! We should question our understanding of what the role of the government is. Why is the lifeblood of Bangladesh's economy in the hand of inefficient bureaucrats?

: Scarlet Pimpernel





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