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LAHORE: Non-provision of adequate funds and lack of coordination between the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government have delayed civil work on the Rs7.5 billion gas infrastructure development projects in Hangu, Kohat and Karak districts.

The work on the projects was supposed to be launched by SNGPL by July this year after the federal government approved the same last year.

Under the plan, the federal government is to generate incremental gas development surcharge (GDS) for the KP government to finance the gas infrastructure development projects worth over Rs7.5 billion. For the time being, the KP government was responsible to arrange money from its own budget and pay it to SNGPL that will contribute a sum of Rs2 billion for these projects.

The provincial government will recover the amount in the form of incremental GDS (about Rs5.5bn) as pledged by the federal government.

“Neither the KP government nor SNGPL arranged funds, causing delay in launching the civil work. It is the result of miscommunication and absence of coordination,” said an official source in the federal government.

According to SNGPL managing director Amjad Latif, the KP government didn’t provide funds it was supposed to transfer to the utility in this regard. “There are two issues due to which the work on these projects couldn’t start. The first issue is the non-provision of funds by the KP government, and second is the deteriorated law and order situation in the project areas,” Mr Latif told Dawn.

“A couple of days ago, the KP government contacted me on phone and pledged to release the entire funds (its total share) of Rs5.5 billion very soon,” he added.

The MD said that SNGPL had already completed various preparatory works required before initiation of the civil works. “The planning of the projects is complete and designing work is underway these days. This we initiated with our own funding resources,” he claimed.

Mr Latif also expressed anger over massive gas theft in the areas where these projects were to be launched. “We don’t blame the KP government in this regard, as it looks to be beyond its control,” the MD said.

Meanwhile, an official of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Oil and Gas Company Limited claimed that the provincial government had already started releasing funds to SNGPL to start work from Hangu. “In Hangu alone, the cost of laying new gas pipelines, replacing the damaged and old with new ones, etc is Rs611 million of which our share is around Rs480 million.

Over Rs100 million were released to SNGPL in March and Rs300 million about a month ago through a letter appended with a cheque that was issued by the KP’s finance department.

“It is very strange to hear that they (SNGPL) have not received funds from the KP government. The fact is we have started releasing the same already,” the official, requesting anonymity, said when contacted by this correspondent.

He said that excavation work at a site in Hangu had also started some days ago.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2017