No gas supply for CNG stations, not much for domestic users either


Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) Managing Director (MD) Arif Hameed on Saturday announced suspension of gas supply to CNG stations for an indefinite period.
The MD announced this decision in an interview to a private TV channel.
He said gas demand for domestic consumers alone had crossed 1,510 mmcf, while the production stood at 1,780 mmcf, adding that under such circumstances gas supply for commercial activities could not be continued.
Therefore, all CNG station owners have been informed that gas supply will remain suspended for an indefinite time, he said.
The announcement comes at a time when several regions in Punjab have been facing unannounced CNG suspension for more than a week that has paralysed life in the region.
The Pothohar strip along with Islamabad and Rawalpindi has remained without CNG for the past eight days while Lahore has not received the fuel for the ninth consecutive day. Gas stations in Multan have also been shut for the past six days.
In a faltering economy where the price of petrol is beyond the reach of the common man, CNG served as a cheap alternative for commuters. With unemployment and inflation plaguing the society and electricity load shedding disrupting normal life, CNG closure comes as another blow to the citizens who are desperate for some relief.
Amidst claims that commercial gas has been suspended to fulfill domestic needs, citizens complained of low gas pressures at their homes as an unprecedented cold wave hits most parts of the country.
Commuters including students faced problems reaching schools and colleges while public and private servants faced problems in reaching their offices due to unavailability of public transport vehicles that are not operating due to suspension of fuel supply.
Other transporters and taxi drivers taking advantage of the situation increased fares and continued fleecing passengers who had no option but to pay the high price.
Citizens said the sustained closure of CNG stations had greatly added to their miseries. Employees of filling stations have also shown concern over the closure as they risk losing their jobs. Most people were of the view that they were already in the grip of numerous crises and CNG closure in addition to low gas pressure for domestic consumers had added to their miseries.
ZARDARI TAKES NOTICE: President Asif Ali Zardari took notice of gas suspension to the commercial sector in Punjab and gave directions for resumption of the fuel to industries.
In this regard, Adviser to PM on Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain briefed the president on measures being taken to overcome the shortage in the province.
Zardari asked the adviser to arrange a meeting for him with the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) to discuss the issue with industrial stakeholders. Dr Asim said tenders for the import of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) will be floated next week. He hoped that LNG will start reaching Pakistan next month‚ which will help overcome the gas shortage to some extent.
The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) had already announced to protest suspension of gas to CNG stations under the gas load shedding plan and had blamed the government of charging extra taxes on the sector.
APCNGA Chairman Ghayas Paracha had said in numerous statements that CNG prices and load shedding plans were targeted to filter out the sector from the economy to benefit the LNG mafia at the cost of the masses. He had threatened to stage demonstrations and sit-ins against these moves which he said would also be backed by CNG consumers, transporters and the public at large.