ISLAMABAD, Aug 22: Even before the holidays are over, the government has not only decided to take back its announced Eid gift to the nation — regarding increase of CNG and petrol prices — but CNG loadshedding is also back in action, from Thursday.
The government has increased CNG prices by Rs3.21 per kilogram, taking the price of Compressed Natural Gas to its highest level yet: a whopping Rs88.61 per kilogram in the Region-I .
The Region-I includes Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Balochistan and Potohar Region (Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Gujar Khan), while CNG prices in remaining parts of the country would reach Rs80.95 per kilogram.
The last highest CNG price witnessed by the consumers of Potohar, KPK and Balochistan was Rs87 per kilogram in June 2012, but the authorities were forced to take it back after severe reaction by CNG dealers and the consumers.
An official of the petroleum ministry said that increase in prices was in line with the policy that CNG prices will be 60 per cent of the price of petrol.
Besides, the worst seems to be coming by the end of the month as the CNG prices are expected to increase by Rs3 per kilogram due to the international oil prices trend.
The CNG dealers have reacted sharply to double increase in CNG prices and termed it as a policy of fleecing the public.
“Why is it that we the CNG or the petrol consumers have to cover up the revenue loss faced by the country,” said Ghiyas Paracha, Chairman All Pakistan CNG Association, adding, “The government is beginning to test our patience.”
While, many members of the CNG association support a strike against regular increase in CNG rates, Mr Paracha said that he preferred to launch a mass contact drive first.
“I would like the consumers and the society at large to support the CNG industry as increasing CNG rates lead to inflation increase in the country,” he added.
Meanwhile, the CNG dealers have said that the government should give some relaxation for travellers on such occasions as many people would be coming back from distant places like central Punjab on Thursday and Friday.
However, an official of the Petroleum Ministry said that Eid days are officially over by Wednesday and the loadshedding has to continue from Thursday as it was part of the larger energy management programme.
The CNG stations are closed in Potohar, Faisalabad and Bahawalpur regions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday due to weekly loadshedding.