ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum was informed on Tuesday that a ban on gas connections to new schemes might be lifted soon and a summary in this regard had been forwarded to the Council of Common Interests (CCI).

The meeting at the Parliament House was chaired by Senator Mir Israrullah Khan Zehri, who pacified members at the start of the meeting and persuaded them to continue with the agenda despite the absence of the petroleum secretary.

Members of the committee criticised the delay in providing gas connections to new schemes across the country.

Petroleum ministry officials said that the ban was imposed by the prime minister after which both gas utility companies stopped undertaking any new project.

The decision was taken in view of the severe gas shortage and a summary on the matter had been forwarded to the CCI.

The officials said that the summary regarding new schemes worth around Rs5.60 billion had been forwarded to the CCI. These include projects forwarded by Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Senator Baz Muhammad Khan asked the chairman to look into the schemes he had proposed.

But Senator Mohsin Aziz expressed dissatisfaction over the government’s response to the problem and said he lost the hope that the summary would produce a positive result.

“Nobody knows when the next CCI meeting will be held,” he said. “The meeting has to be called in after every three months but there has not been a single one during [the past] year.”

The meeting also discussed the employment status of people of oil-producing districts in the companies concerned.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2016

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