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PESHAWAR: Federal petroleum minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan on Tuesday said the centre and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had agreed to supply natural gas to the areas falling within five kilometers radius of gas fields to check gas theft in southern districts of the province.

After meeting Chief Minister Mehmood Khan at the CM House here, the minister told reporters that the centre and KP had discussed the issues of oil and gas sector, including gas theft in southern KP.

He said since the 2001 federal government policy and Council of Common Interest decisions promised gas supply to the settlements falling within five kilometers radius of gas fields and therefore, both the centre and province had agreed to provide gas to those localities equally.

Federal, provincial govts reach agreement, say move to check gas theft

Mr Sarwar said the federal and KP governments discussed the issue of gas theft in southern districts of Karak, Kohat and Hangu and that the supplying of gas to those areas would help overcome gas theft.

He added that the KP government had promised the centre full support and cooperation in that respect.

The minister said the federal government had decided to allow the provincial government’s representatives to be part of the gas companies’ boards.

“The KP government will have its representative in the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited board, while other provinces will have representatives in the boards of their respective utility companies,” he said.

“Equal representation is the only way to strengthen the federation,” he said.

Mr Sarwar said currently, the SNGPL’s annual losses stood at Rs20 billion.

He declared his meeting with the chief minister positive and said they discussed several critical issues.

The minister said one point of the PTI-led federal government’s 100 days plan was approaching the provinces to discuss important issues and he visited KP for the purpose.

He said he would visit other provinces, too, to discuss their respective issues for resolution.

Mr Sarwar said the rights granted to the provinces by the 18th Constitutional Amendment were not being implemented and therefore, those issues were raised in the CCI.

He said his visit was also meant to address issues at local level and take the rest to the CCI after mutual agreement.

The minister said the country faced economic, water and energy crises.

“These crises are not created by the PTI government. Instead, it inherited them from predecessors, who ruled the country thrice but failed to resolve them,” he said.

Mr Sarwar said the Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project’s cost was Rs84 billion when it was envisaged in 2000 but its completion cost currently stood at Rs506 billion.

He said the energy sector’s circular debt had surged to Rs1.28 trillion from Rs480 billion in 2013.

The minister blamed the recent increase in gas price on the Rs158 billion SSGPL and SNGPL losses.

Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2018