DERA GHAZI KHAN/ LAHORE, Feb 26: Gas supply to power and fertiliser plants in Punjab and the NWFP was suspended following a blast in main pipelines in the Shahwali area of Rajanpur on Sunday night.

As the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limiter was assessing the magnitude of the damage at 11:30pm, an hour after the blast, it warned of gas suspension to the general industry in the two provinces if two of the three pipelines had been ruptured.

“The extent of the blaze is not permitting us to assess the damage and its cause,” said a company spokesman in Lahore. He said supply to the pipelines had been stopped from the nearest ‘valve-assembly’ to control the blaze.

Three lines of 18, 24 and 30 inches diameters carry gas from Sui to the SNGPL which feeds Punjab and the Frontier province. There are more than 100 large and small power units in the SNGPL jurisdiction which now face shutdown.

Shahwali, where the blast took place, is not far away from Sindh and Balochistan borders. The area has been under heavy Rangers’ patrol for over a year whose assignment is to guard the pipelines round the clock.

Reports from the area said flames could be seen from several miles because of night.

A company spokesman told Dawn that it was a sabotage act because gas pressure was normal prior to the blast. The blast caused damage to the 30-inch gas pipeline.

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