KARACHI: Just a day after the Sindh government accused the Centre of ‘injustices’ in distribution of gas and electricity and deman­ded representation in federal energy regulatory bodies, the key opposition party in the province on Wed­nesday also came up with a reaction on persistent shortage of gas mainly in Karachi and asked for development of a more equitable plan for natural gas distribution.

In a letter to Federal Minister of State for Energy (Petroleum Division) Musadik Malik, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Parliamentary Leader in the Sindh Assembly Khurrum Sher Zaman referred to the current natural gas shortage, which is ‘afflicting Karachi’.

“With the coming of winter, the people of Karachi are being severely hindered by unannounced and prolonged gas load-shedding,” he said in the letter. “The decision by the imported government to conduct 16-hour gas load-shedding within the domestic sector in Karachi has not been useful. Even when gas is available, nearly every household in Karachi regardless of locality is facing very low pressure or no supply at all.”

Only on Tuesday, Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh said that the injustices were being committed with the province in distribution of gas and electricity and demanded that the federal government give Sindh representation in the federal energy regulatory bodies and in K-Electric’s board of directors.

The provincial minister was of the view that Sindh would not give up its right to a new agreement between provincial and federal governments on the distribution of gas.

Mr Zaman of the PTI expressing concerns said that the current energy crisis was making it tough to do basic tasks such as cooking and bathing. He mentioned the problems facing the industrial sector in Karachi.

“The SSGC [Sui Southern Gas Company] decided to stop gas supplies to the industrial sector with several industries receiving notices of gas closure for up to three months. Whether such a measure wouldn’t hamper industrial output at all levels and, thus, economic growth? I urge the federal government to look into this critical issue facing Karachi and develop a more equitable plan for natural gas distribution.”

Mr Zaman said that the people of Karachi despite being residents of the country’s business capital were deprived of basic necessities of daily life.

Both provincial and federal governments, he said, had failed to keep check on the performance of the institutions concerned and utilities, which allowed them to exploit the situation on their own terms.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2022

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