The country's largest state-run natural gas distributor is seeking funds from two major donor agencies to implement its plan to install 1.25 million more prepaid gas metres for domestic customers in the capital.
The financing is being sought from the Asian Development Bank and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), official sources told UNB without specifying the amount as the proposals are still at a discussion stage.
If the move succeeds, more than half of the total consumers of the state-run Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company will come under the prepaid gas metre coverage, the sources said.
This will also increase the number of Titas Gas prepaid metre customers to about 1.710 million from the existing 460,000, said the official sources speaking on condition of anonymity.
Titas Gas, the oldest and largest downstream gas distribution company, has been responsible for the supply of natural gas to Dhaka and its adjoining districts including Mymensingh, Netrokona, Sherpur, Jamalpur, Norsingdi, Manikganj, Munshiganj, Gazipur and Narayanganj.
"But currently the company has been focusing on just Dhaka city in installing the prepaid gas meters for household consumers where it has the largest network", said a top official of the company.
“Over 70 per cent of the total 2.874 million consumers live in the city, he added.
Official sources said that the government has been trying to obtain required funding from Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).
"We've been discussing with the ADB for long to secure financing for a project to install 549,000 pre-paid meters while similar move is in progress with JBIC to get a support for installing 700,000 prepaid metres", said a top official of the Titas preferring not to be quoted.
About the move, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said his ministry has forwarded its proposals on the issue to the Economic Relations Division (ERD) of the finance ministry.
"If they clear our proposals, we'll move further to receive the financial support from ADB and JBIC to implement new project for the prepaid gas metering", he told UNB.
Official sources noted that so far the Titas Gas installed prepaid gas metres in a number of phases.