Fourth day of CNG closure adds to the trouble
[I]* CNG association claims sale of gas to motorists halted for one more day on the request of SNGPL managing director
By Shabbir Sarwar[/I]
LAHORE: All CNG filling stations remained closed on Friday, the fourth consecutive day of closure, on the order of Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Ltd (SNGPL) managing director. On the other hand, the CNG consumers condemned the SNGPL and All Pakistan CNG Association for not opening supply on the fourth day.
The consumers claimed neither the government nor the CNG association were in favour of opening the sale of CNG to motorists because of their ongoing tussle with the Supreme Court of Pakistan. “Why did the CNG association extend gas closure for another day on the request of the SNGPL when the case was still in the Supreme Court?” a consumer, who requested his name not be mentioned, told Daily Times.
“The CNG association and owners of most of CNG filling stations were already doing a contempt of court by not resuming the sale of gas,” said a consumer of the Gulberg area, Muhammad Jamil. He owns a Suzuki Mehran. He said despite court orders the government was not taking action against the CNG stations that don’t sell gas.
When contacted, All Pakistan CNG Association’s Punjab Chairman Capt (r) Shuja Anwar said that basic schedule of CNG load shedding was the same (three days a week). “On Wednesday, SNGPL MD requested us to close gas supply for another day due to extreme cold weather conditions and increase in gas consumption in the domestic sector,” Anwar claimed. The supply and sale will be resumed at CNG stations on Friday (today), he added.
It is noteworthy that out of a total of 350 CNG stations in Lahore, around 160 supply gas to the motorists while the others are on a strike on the issue of price, even against the Supreme Court’s order. Around half of the CNG stations which open their sales after the weekly load shedding close down the sales every alternate hour due to electricity load shedding. So the consumers have to face problems as the filling stations don’t use their power generators. Capt Shuja says using generators during the electricity load shedding means expenditure of another Rs 5 per kilogramme of the gas. “This is absolutely unaffordable at the current price fixed by the SC,” he says.
The consumers said the executive has failed to get the SC order implemented. It is worthy to note here that the SC had also ordered the government to take “a strict action” against all those CNG stations where gas is not provided to the motorists after the end of the weekly load shedding. It was noted on Thursday that all state-run (Pakistan State Oil) gas filling stations were also closed.