KARACHI: An aggravated gas crisis across the city, especially over the past three day of Ramazan, has made citizens’ life miserable as supply remained unavailable even at Sehri and Iftar timings leaving burning wood and costly LPG cylinders the only option for domestic consumers.
On Thursday, enraged people took to the street, though in small numbers, in some parts of the city cursing the Sui Southern Gas Company for piling miseries on them in the holy month.
While complaints very low pressure or no supply of gas at Sehri and Iftar timings kept on pouring in from every known locality of the city, the gas utility’s complaint service, 1199, appeared not accessible. Those who could luckily connect to the complaint service were told by the attendants that they did not have any information about any scheduled or unscheduled loadshedding in any part of the city.
The social media, mainly Twitter and Facebook, was also flooded with the harsh condemnation of unannounced and prolonged gas loadshedding in the city
Rana Javed, a resident of Defense Housing Authority, tweeted: “No gas in Phase 7 DHA Karachi. None since yesterday. 0 at iftar and 0 at sehri. Please resolve”.
Energy minister, SSGC blame gas suction devices for low pressure
A resident of Clifton, Saleem Akhtar Siddiqui, in his tweet asked as to why corrupt mafia of SSGC was doing loadshedding of gas to consumers in his area behind Standard Chartered Bank in Boat Basin. “All sort of unannounced load shedding is contempt of the orders of honourable Supreme Court,” he wrote.
The federal government in early November had planned 16 hours of gas loadshedding in December for domestic consumers, who would be supplied gas for three hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon and three hours in the evening due to shortage of gas during winters.
With the advent of Ramazan, the gas utility had assured consumers that gas would be supplied during Sehri and Iftar timings.
In some areas, such as Gulistan-i-Jauhar and Gulshan-i-Iqbal, gas was supplied during these timings but the pressure remained low. “We just can’t burn over stoves unless we use gas suction device,” Iqra Shah, said a resident of the neighbourhood.
While the pressure remained very low wherever gas was supplied, SSGC spokesperson Salman A. Siddiqui, tweeted that gas suction devices were not only illegal but dangerous, too, as recent incidents had shown. He cautioned consumers against use of the gas suction devices.
People also complained that the provincial government was sitting like a silent spectator while consumers were facing a great deal of hardship in performing their religious obligation of fasting during the holy month.
Samreen Hassan, a resident of Saddar, said that no gas was being supplied to her locality before Sehri and Iftar. “How can we prepare Sehri and Iftar food without gas?” she asked, and added that the LPG cylinder was the only option nowadays in the vicinity.
Rizwan Ahmed, a resident of Malir Khokhrapar, said that the price of LPG had increased to Rs270 per kg. “It is too expensive for a low income group people,” he added.
The Sindh energy minister said that gas production from Sindh was between 2,700 to 3,000 mmcfd while the SSGC was supplying less than 900 mmcfd to the province. “We have off and on taken up the matter with the authorities concerned but to no avail,” he said, adding that the provincial government would once again approach the federal government to get the issue resolved.
Sources in the power utility told Dawn that poor distribution system of the gas utility was also adding to the miseries of people as the gas pressure could not be maintained in the peak hours when gas was supplied.
However, they added, the gas pressure became low during Sehri and Iftar because most people used stoves simultaneously.
He said the use of suction pumps was one of the major cause of low pressure in certain localities. “People should remove such devices so that the gas pressure could be normalised,” he advised.
Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2023