Unscheduled CNG closure leaves Lahoris gasping for gas


After the scheduled closure of gas supply to the CNG sector, the filling stations remained closed on Thursday as well so as to meet the demand of the domestic consumers, leaving commuters plying their vehicles on CNG high and dry.
Annoyed CNG station owners say that they no longer make money due to the newly issued prices by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA).
Motorists and vehicle owners told Pakistan Today they cannot afford to run their vehicles on petrol and are forced to go through the stringent ordeal of getting into ridiculous queues at CNG stations in order to get their cylinders refilled. The CNG stations in Lahore region were scheduled to open from Thursday however, Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Ltd (SNGPL) decided to close down the gas supply for a further day due to regional shortage.
According to the SNGPL, the gas supply to the industries has also been stopped to meet the demand of domestic consumers. The CNG stations were not opened in other regions of the province as well.
Meanwhile, domestic consumers in Punjab complain of low pressure in many areas while in some areas there’s hardly any gas pressure.
Following the closure of CNG stations, petrol pump owners are also raising their concerns stating that due to a shortage in CNG supply, consumes are demanding more petrol resulting in shortage of supply. They maintain that there will soon be two major issues instead of one in the country. They say that the government should resolve the CNG issue immediately.
As per official documents, CNG sector is consuming about 327 Million Cubic Feet (mmcfd) per day out of total national gas production of 4,238 mmcfd. There are 3,400 CNG stations in the country and around 3.6 million vehicles are running on CNG.
“The government is collecting Rs 36.34 per kg on its sale, which includes over Rs 12 per kg on account of Gas Infrastructure Development Surcharge (GIDS), Rs 13.25 per kg on account of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) and Rs 11.08 on account of General Sales Tax,” a CNG station owner told Pakistan Today. Owners of CNG filling stations are not the only ones claiming monetary losses. “I parked my car in a long queue assuming that the gas pressure will be good but was shocked to find that there is no gas at the stations and they will be shut down for a long period,” said Hassan Tahir, a citizen. Rickshaw drivers in the city are also distressed due to the prevailing CNG situation.
“We are the worst affected because most of us have bought CNG-powered rickshaws,” said Muhammad Saleem, a rickshaw driver.
Fazal Mehmood, a school van driver, said: “We are hand to mouth just because of gas load shedding in the city. Petrol is unaffordable for us and it is my appeal to the government to please do something instead of ruining the lives of people.”