Low gas pressure ruins Karachiites’ Sehri and Iftar

Published April 9, 2022
A woman tries to light a gas stove.—White Star
A woman tries to light a gas stove.—White Star

KARACHI: Residential consumers across the city complained of low gas pressure that is making Sehri and Iftar preparation impossible for them and claimed that the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) remained oblivious to their plight.

The city has a daily demand of 600 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) while 570 mmcfd is currently being supplied, according to a SSGC official.

“On the first day of Ramazan, I had to send my husband out to get bread at 3:30am as there was no gas in the stove and I couldn’t prepare Sehri,” said Mrs Hadia, a schoolteacher who resides in Block 10, Gulshan-i-Iqbal.

Due to increasing inflation and rising utility bills, I have a strict ‘no Iftar from bazaar’ policy for years, she says.

From upscale DHA to localities on city outskirts, complaints against SSGC pour in

“It’s sixth Ramazan and things have gone from bad to worse. From 5pm onwards, there is barely any gas and we have to buy Iftar. Cooking even one decent meal is impossible,” she says, adding that the household budget is difficult to manage even with two people working.

Javed Akhtar, a resident of Naimat Manzil on Maulana Mohammad Saddiq Road, Kharadar’s Khadda Market, says the low gas pressure issue has gotten worse over the last two years. “We barely had any gas in the winter months. Twice a week the gas supply was good enough between 11pm to 5am to cook food.”

“My wife and other women in the area cook food around midnight and this has been going on long before Ramazan,” he added.

Mrs Nazia, a resident of Railway Colony, said complaints were lodged to the SSGC multiple times, but nothing happened.

“We are a family of eight, with two of us working full time. Since the first roza, we are ordering chapatti. If I order two roti per person, that’s 16 rotis for a meal which cost Rs240. Now multiply this by 29 days. This is Rs6,960 for rotis. We are barely surviving,” she said, urging that the issue should be resolved at the earliest.

Journalist Rizwana Naqvi has similar views to share.

“We had low pressure throughout winters and had to get a cylinder. Things improved a bit last month but since the second roza, there is barely gas. There is just enough gas to fry an egg for Sehri” says Ms Naqvi, a resident of Phase 5, DHA.

In Phase 8, DHA, residents said there was no gas pressure.

“From October onwards to March, there was no gas. This forced many of us to opt for electric geysers. The situation this Ramazan is so bad that there is no gas from 5pm onwards,” said Usama Qurieshi.

Residents from Federal B Area, Saddar, Defence View, Korangi, Garden, North Nazimabad, Gulshan-i-Maymar shared similar experiences, with many of them saying that gas situation had been worse since winters.

They all opined that gas loadshedding was pushing up their household budget as they ended up ordering food — especially naan and roti — to save time. Many of them said they did not feel safe using gas cylinders while moving to electric stoves meant an increase in their electricity bills.

In response to a tweet soliciting feedback on gas outage in Karachi, Fareeha Mashhadi tweeted that there was very low pressure or no gas at Iftar since the first Ramazan in Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Block 12.

Bilal Karim Mughal tweeted: “Our home is in Jauhar, Block 10, Ammi told they were facing gas problems since a few days.”

Meanwhile, Sobia Shahid said Model Colony was facing severe gas pressure issue both during sehri and iftari. “sehri khatm hone se 15 ya 20 minute pehle ati hy or iftar se 1.5 hrs pehle chali jati hei or last moment pr ati hy.”

“4:10am and it gets to a point where it’s as good as no gas at all. Almost all areas of Malir. It’s especially bad in Khokrapaar,” tweeted Fatimah.

Requesting anonymity, an SSGC source said, tail areas were facing the issue most. “Due to peak consumption at sehri and Iftar times, the pressure drops.”

Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2022

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