PESHAWAR: Transporters, CNG station owners and industrialists here on Saturday expressed their concern over suspension of gas supply to CNG stations and industrial units and demanded of the federal government to review its decision and immediately restore gas supply to consumers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The district administrations, under Section 144 of CrPC, have ordered closure of CNG stations till January 20 to ensure improved gas pressure to domestic consumers.

“We had extended full cooperation to the government when gas supply was suspended for 17 hours on Dec 8, 2021, so as to facilitate domestic consumers. However, complete suspension of gas till Jan 20 is a sheer injustice with the investors, transporters and employees of the CNG stations,” All Pakistan CNG Association, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter, chairman Fazal Muqeem told Dawn on Saturday.

He said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was producing sufficient gas to meet its requirements, but it was supplied to Punjab.

Transporters, filling station owners, industrialists urge govt to restore gas supply

“Gas loadshedding or its suspension is not only a violation of the judgment of the Peshawar High Court, but also a clear violation of Article 158 of the Constitution. Under Article 158, the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) should first fulfil the requirement and demand of the industries of the province and then supply surplus gas to other provinces,” he maintained.

He recalled that in 2018 the Peshawar High Court had directed the SNGPL to provide natural gas to industries of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa without loadshedding and low pressure and also enhance the capacity of gas connections. He said suspension of gas was a clear violation of the court decision.

Mr Muqeem said gas suspension to at least 600 CNG stations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had affected about 2.7 million vehicles and their drivers and rendered about 90,000 employees/daily wagers jobless in the province.

He said the investors were not sure about restoration of gas supply to CNG stations on Jan 20, saying the SNGPL staff had also taken away filter cups from all the stations to ensure their complete closure.

The investors, he said, were worried in the prevailing situation as to how they would manage payment of monthly utility bills, rents and taxes. He claimed that the gas suspension would lead to defeat of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf candidates in the next phase of local government elections. He said the increase in prices of electricity and gas and other essential commodities were the main causes of PTI’s defeat in the first phase of LG elections in the province.

Public Transport Owners Association president Khan Zaman Afridi told this correspondent that about 40 per cent of the public service vehicles were off the roads since Jan 7 due to suspension of CNG supply.

“We are planning to start protest demonstrations if the federal government does not review its decision,” he said and added that most of the old model vehicles (from 90 to 95 models) were on CNG while the vehicles of 2000 model and onward were on petrol.

Similarly, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Textile Mills Association chairman Salim Saifullah Khan in a statement here on Saturday demanded of the federal government to review its decision and restore supply of gas to the textile industry of the province.

He said KP itself was producing gas, which was not only sufficient for its own requirements, but also to cater to the needs of other provinces. He also quoted Article 158 of the Constitution which guaranteed that the producing province had the first right over use of such natural resource.

Mr Saifullah said the suspension of gas was a sheer injustice with the export-oriented industrial units.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2022

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