Another 1.2 lakh Titas gas consumers in seven more thanas of the capital will come under the prepaid meter system as the prepaid gas meter set-up project has been revised.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday approved the project's second revision, which increased the monthly meter rent to Tk100 from Tk60.
Under the project, two lakh consumers in 34 areas of the capital were to be brought under the prepaid meter system.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina virtually presided over the Ecnec meeting held at the National Economic Council conference centre in the capital.
Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Planning Commission Senior Secretary Md Ashadul Islam presented a summary of the projects approved by the Ecnec.
Mosammat Nasima Begum, a member of the Industry and Energy Division under the Planning Commission, told the briefing the prepaid gas meter project was approved at an estimated cost of Tk712.1 crore and was to be completed between 2015 and 2018.
"Later, the tenure was extended till December this year, with the expenditure being brought down to Tk498.94 crore. In the second phase, the tenure has been extended till December 2022 and the cost has gone up by Tk254.9 crore."
The Japan International Cooperation Agency will lend Tk651 crore for the Tk753.84 crore project, while the rest will come from state coffers and the Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company.
Nasima Begum said, "78 square metres of gas are required for the connection of two stoves; consumers without meters waste a lot of gas. On the other hand, the monthly usage of meter-based consumers is 48 square metres. As a result, 30 square metres of gas are saved in each two-stove connection."
"Moreover, consumers without meters pay Tk950 per month for two stoves while the expense is Tk600 on average for meter-based users. As a result, consumers can save Tk350 per month," she said.
In response to a question, the Planning Commission official said the average lifespan of a Tk14,000 prepaid meter is 20 years.
"If the monthly meter rent is Tk100, the price of the meter will be recouped easily."
She also said meter rent was set at Tk60 in the past to encourage its use among consumers.
According to the Planning Commission, consumers in Bangshal, Gandaria, Hazaribagh, Jatrabari, Lalbagh, New Market and Shahbagh thanas will get prepaid meters as part of the expansion of the project.
Ashadul Islam said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had directed the authorities concerned to install prepaid meters all over the country in phases.
"However, industrial areas will be prioritised. As gas consumption is higher in such areas, waste is also higher."
Ecnec approves four other projects
Four other projects costing Tk3,308.36 crore were approved at Tuesday's Ecnec meeting.
Of the amount, Tk1,245.3 crore will come from state funds, and about Tk21 crore from implementing agencies. The remaining Tk2,042 crore will be collected from foreign sources as project assistance.
The Ecnec approved the Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene for Human Resource Development project, which includes a Tk1,831.76 crore assistance from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the World Bank. The total cost of the project will be Tk1,882.59 crore.
The project includes supplying safe water through pipelines to the rural areas of 98 upazilas in 30 districts, installing 2.51 lakh hygienic latrines for the extremely poor, providing washing services in schools and community clinics, raising hygiene awareness and training hygiene workers.
The Ecnec extended the tenure of the Land Acquisition for Construction of Sewerage Systems in Khulna City project – which was approved in 2018 with a target of the work being completed in just a year – till June next year. As a result, the project cost rose from Tk96.37 crore to Tk212.91 crore. The late fine for the project is Tk116.54 crore.
Moreover, the tenure of the Further Development of Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology project, which expired in June this year, was extended till June 2022. The project cost increased from Tk340.13 crore to Tk599.3 crore.
The Ecnec also approved the Rural Infrastructure Development of Narsingdi District project at an estimated cost ofTk795.16 crore.