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Naanbais protest gas tariff increase

August 28, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: The General Naanbai Association (GNA) on Monday held a protest demonstration against an increase in the tariff of re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG).

The protest by the naanbais was held in front of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) regional office.

The protesters also voiced their concerns over the issuance of bills by the SNGPL thrice a month, terming the practice a violation of the standard rules under which consumers paid bills after a month.

They demanded that the increase in the tariff should immediately be withdrawn and the bill issuing procedure streamlined.

Terming the increased tariff ‘unjustified,’ the protesters said it would affect their business and put an extra burden on the consumers.

GNA President Fazal Kareem Abbasi told this news agency that around 128pc increase had been made in the gas tariff six months ago following which some naanbais started using RLNG.

“The SNGPL used to charge every tandoor Rs700 per mmbtu till 2017 but now it has started charging them around 1,600 per mmbtu after conversion of the natural gas connections into RLNG and changing the status of the tandoors to restaurants just to justify the tariff,” he added.

He said the company increased the tariff without safeguarding the interest of naanbais, adding instead of issuing any notice to them the SNGPL started sending them three bills in a month.

Mohammad Sajjad, one of the protesters, said he recently received a bill of Rs110,130 against three months. Another naanbai said he paid Rs33,000 for two months.

Meanwhile, Joint Secretary of Naanbai Association Rawalpindi, Mehmood Ahmed, said they had obtained a stay order from court against the increase in the tariff.

He called upon the authorities concerned to educate naanbai appropriately before imposing any kind of tax.

When contacted, SNGPL’s Deputy Chief Sale Department Sardar Nawaz said the tariff had gradually been increased with the surge in the dollar rate.

“RLNG is actually a form of LNG that is being imported from Qatar and transported to Karachi terminals where it is re-gasified after a process and disseminated across the country through pipelines,” he explained.

He said the distribution company - SNGPL - was not importing LNG directly and had to involve Pakistan State Oil (PSO).

In reply to a question, the official said the SNGPL had to make payments in advance to the PSO for which it was issuing utility bills more than once in a month.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2018