Firewood.. A compulsory option for citizens to confront the corruption of domestic gas distributors

English - Sunday 26 March 2023 الساعة 01:50 pm
Mukalla, NewsYemen, exclusive:

For weeks, "Taha al-Khalaki" has been searching for a single gas cylinder - cooking gas - in separate parts of the city of Mukalla, the center of Hadramout governorate, in light of a suffocating and fabricated crisis that the city has been witnessing for weeks due to the corruption of distribution by authorized agents.

Taha told "Newsyemen": The residential neighborhoods in Mukalla are distributed over residential squares, and each square has an agent accredited by the National Gas Company, but the lack of oversight of the agents has caused a great scarcity of gas cylinders provided to citizens in their residential squares, which leads the people to confusion and exit.  To search for a single cylinder at double prices.

He added: We are at the beginning of Ramadan, and I have been searching for weeks for one gas cylinder, as the cylinder in the house is about to expire, and I do not know how we will work if it ends without there being an alternative.

Taha, like other citizens, was forced to use firewood as an alternative way to prepare food for his family members. Despite the health risks caused by the rising fumes, firewood has become a compulsory option.

Great struggle

 A great struggle is experienced by thousands of families in the city of Mukalla to provide domestic gas, many of whom are forced to go to the "Brum Gas Filling Factory" - a government factory in the Brum Mayfaa district, west of Mukalla, 30 km away - in order to fill their cylinders after the failure of the distributors and agents concerned to provide  They have this article about a month ago.

With the advent of the month of Ramadan, the problem deepened greatly and became more complex, since the holy month has special rituals, foods and meals, which requires an increase in the consumption of cooking gas compared to other months.

Many citizens in Mukalla confirm that families have become their first concern to provide gas cylinders for their homes. As you pass through several streets in the areas of Fuwah, Al-Sharj, Mukalla and Al-Dis, specifically near the gas distribution sites, you will witness the large quantities of cylinders whose owners are waiting for relief.

Mr. Ali Bafadl - a government employee - says that our suffering with gas cannot be described, weeks before Ramadan and I am looking for one cylinder. The agent assigned to our residential area does not respond to us and is satisfied with saying that there is a crisis, explaining that many residents have resorted to firewood, especially families who  They ran out of cylinders and couldn't find a replacement.

Distribution manipulation and weak control

 Citizens accuse the distributors of manipulation, corruption, and concealment of gas to sell it on the black market at double prices, adding that the agent receives from the factory on a regular and monthly basis about 210 cylinders, in order to cover the residential block he is responsible for.  However, citizens are surprised that the distribution process is less than the specified number, which confirms that there is corruption and a process of concealment of a large amount of the specified payment for the residential square.

Gas cylinders are officially sold for about 6 thousand riyals in Mukalla, while the cylinder is sold on the black market for about 12 to 15 thousand riyals, which prompted many agents to reduce the number provided to citizens, which created a suffocating crisis at the beginning of the holy month.

The high price of firewood

 Many families, especially in the rural areas and surrounding Mukalla, have resorted to alternative methods of cooking, after they were unable to provide domestic gas cylinders, among those methods being wood and coal.

Ali Salem, one of the firewood merchants in Mukalla, told NewsYemen: In light of the suffocating gas crisis, many resorted to firewood after buying clay skirts, explaining that the firewood trade has become popular and prosperous, as many families rely on it to prepare food until it is secured for them.  gas cylinder by the agent on their block, and this could last weeks.

The great demand for firewood led to an increase in its price, and one bundle, which was sold for about 500 Yemeni riyals, is now close to 1000 riyals, and varies in size and price.

What increases the suffering is that bakeries and restaurants have also become dependent on firewood to prepare their food, and this has caused the prices of these materials to rise dramatically.

Clear corruption

 Despite the assurances by officials of the Gas Company in Mukalla and the Broome Gas Filling Factory that there is no gas crisis and that the quantity distributed is large through agents, many residential squares have been deprived of the arrival of their quotas for about a month, which reveals clear manipulation by agents of the number of cylinders, as well as  Weak oversight by the community committees, the Office of Industry and Commerce. 

According to sources in the gas company and the Broome factory to "NewsYemen", the amount of gas arriving from Marib to Hadramout is very large, and the bottling plant in Broome is operating at full capacity, and many of the quotas of authorized agents are filled, in addition to sending distribution cars to random residential neighborhoods to cover the shortage.  

The sources said: The problem lies after the agent leaves the factory to his specified residential square, as the quantity that is distributed is less than the 200 cylinders that he received from the packing plant, indicating that the control mechanism for distributors and agents must be updated, so that the manipulation of the quantities specified for each square is terminated.