Nation this week
The cost of living in the capital increased by 6.8 percent in 2020 - the sharpest increase in three years - following a hike in prices of goods and services during the Covid-19 pandemic, said a report of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB). The report showed that the price of commodities and services went up by 6.3 percent in Dhaka city last year, said Ghulam Rahman, president of the CAB as he unveiled the CAB report on living cost and consumers' rights issues. He also said the income of lower and lower-middle class decreased significantly during the pandemic period, affecting their living standard greatly.
The report was prepared from the collected prices of 114 food items, 22 consumer goods and 14 services from 15 retail markets in Dhaka. The living expenditure was calculated based on the weight of the commodities or services that are in the consumer's basket in comparison with the total expenses of a family, the CAB report mentioned.
A study by ICDDR, B revealed that the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus, that was first identified in India, has started sweeping across Dhaka city. Between May 25 and June 7, ICDDR, B scientists sequenced the genomes of around 60 samples of the virus afflicting patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Of those, 41 (around 68 percent) were found to be the same as the Delta variant of novel coronavirus, it was found.
The B.1.617.2 strain, officially known as the Delta variant, is worrying health officials across the world. This variant caused a health disaster recently in India and has spread to Bangladesh through the bordering districts. Although once it crossed the border, it was always to be expected that it would take over as the dominant strain in. Although only at 6 percent of infections in the USA at present, it is still expected to emerge as the dominant strain there as well, since it is a more evolved form of the virus that is transmitted more easily between humans.
Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company (Bapex) is increasingly optimistic about the prospects of viably recovering gas from a well in Ananadapur village of Zakiganj upazila in Sylhet. They hope it can be the 28th gas field of the country, "if all goes well." A drill stem test, a procedure for isolating and testing the pressure, permeability and productive capacity of a geological formation during the drilling of a well, carried out this week was successful.
According to the state-owned company, the gas pressure inside the well was recorded at 6,000 PSI (pounds per square inch) while the floating pressure was more than 13,000 PSI. The well has been dug some 32 kilometres from Beanibazar upazila and 46km from Gopalganj upazila, home to Bangladesh's active gas fields.
H-Energy, an Indian natural gas company, said it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Petrobangla for the supply of re-gasified liquefied natural gas (LNG). It added that both firms will finalise a long-term supply agreement to start the supply of LNG to Bangladesh through a cross-border natural gas pipeline. Also this week, the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase approved 10 procurement proposals including import of 1.235 million metric tons of petroleum fuel and 3.360 million MMBtu liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The Kanai Chhata-Shrirampur natural gas pipeline will connect H-Energy's LNG terminal in West Bengal. H-Energy said its wholly owned subsidiary HE Marketing private will be responsible for sourcing LNG and for supplying R-LNG to Petrobangla. The company added that it will commission its floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) at the Jaigarh port in Maharashtra in July, this year. The terminal, which has been delayed on several occasions, is planned to be capable of handling four million tons per year.
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