PUNJAB has experienced the worst-ever gas shortages this winter. Though the people were not expecting a miracle to rid them of the shortages, no one had imagined that these winter months would prove to be so difficult. The fertiliser plants in the province have not been getting gas for sev-eral months now. The industry, which continued to receive the fuel, albeit partially, for its captive power generation and processes through the last year, finds its supplies suspended since Dec 5. CNG stations are closed for an indefinite period. Domestic consumers are facing low gas pressure, not enough even to cook food. It is, therefore, no surprise that all affected consumers — from housewives to factory owners — are running out of patience. In this context, the protest by textile factory owners and their workers in Faisalabad over the past weekend was just a warning of the shape of things to come if gas is not restored to industrial units soon. Though the federal adviser on petroleum has promised to restore supplies to the textile industry two days a week from Feb 1, this is not enough.

Who is to blame for the ongoing energy crisis that results in losses of up to three per cent of the overall economy every year and which has wiped out hundreds of thousands of jobs? The government, of course, and its policymakers. But the government appears least bothered about the issue, let alone about solving it. Even the prospect of the fast-approaching general elections hasn’t worked. The violent protests over gas and electricity shortages across Punjab during the last five years have failed to stir it into action. The generic official response of rationing gas and electricity for different sectors has only exacerbated the crisis. The latter will not go away unless new supplies through imports are added to the system. That requires concerted efforts and an integrated energy policy. Additionally, the cost of all fuels should be brought at par for all sectors so that nobody feels discriminated against. This could be done by calculating the average cost by raising the price of cheaper fuels and reducing that of expensive ones.

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Comments (4)

January 29, 2013 6:01 am
No one is going to listen, as usual.
M. Asghar
January 29, 2013 7:28 pm
The Editorial in this newspaper has highlighted this gas shortage problem in the country mayt times without any effect, because the state as such have not existed for a longtime. Let us see, if the elections would make any difference
January 30, 2013 4:21 am
We even have huge gas shortage in Sindh Which produces more tahn 75% of the country's oil and gas. Punjab will have to use solar pannels as an alternative. Khadime ala was seen yesterday distributing them to college girls.
Engr. Riaz Akbar
January 30, 2013 3:49 am
I fully agree the views of Mr Editor but the question arises as who is to be blamed for not catering ever increasing needs of 180 million people of Pakistan. It has been confirmed by an expert in TV program "Khabar Nak" 29 th January,2013 that deposit of more than one trillion cubic feet of gas exists in Pakistan but no one is pushed to explore the same for reason not known to us.The availble gas cannot meet requirement of any one sector fully. I urge all contesting parties in fothcoming election to come forward with solution of this national issue of immense importance.
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