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KARACHI, July 6: The Sui Southern Gas Company has announced a 36-hour gas closure beginning from 9pm on Friday for compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in Sindh.

The extended closure is being blamed on to a technical fault at the Bhit gas field.

“It is the same recurrent problem,” SSGC Deputy Managing Director Zuhair Siddiqui said.

“It’s an electrical breakdown at the Bhit gas field. It’s just one of those things that happen.”

Asked why were they unable to find a permanent solution to the problem, he said: “Well, the SSGC, too, isn’t directly involved as it doesn’t own the gas field. It is owned by Eni Pakistan Limited and they tell us that they hope to see it not happening again.”

Meanwhile, CNG Dealers Association chairman Abdul Sami Khan believed that the recurrent problem, making them close the stations again and again, was all a part of a government plan.

He said: “When 70 per cent of Pakistan’s gas comes from Sindh, how can they divert it to Punjab? Constitutionally, they cannot give Sindh’s gas to other provinces until Sindh’s own demand for it has been fulfilled.

“But besides giving it to other provinces from here, they have given extra lines to others as part of granting political favours to them. You tell me, how can the issue of opening new CNG stations even arise when there is so much shortage being experienced by the entire country?”

Mr Khan questioned.

“But that is exactly what they intend to do as there is a document lying with the Oil and Gas Regularity Authority, which we are resisting giving approval to,” he said.

“Now they are asking us to close all stations for 36 hours. But frankly there has been no gas pressure during the entire day, as it is taking ages for one car to fill up,” he said.

“Anyway, I have also spoken to the SSGC’s DMD, who has assured me of expecting better pressure in future. What can I say to SSGC, too? It is not their fault also as they, too, have their orders to carry out while the poor consumers suffer,” he concluded.

MQM seeks end to 36-hour gas cut

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has called upon the authorities concerned to bring an end to the loadshedding of CNG in Sindh to help provide relief to the people.

According to an MQM press release issued here on Friday, a representative delegation of the All-Pakistan CNG Association held a meeting with the party’s coordination committee members Syed Shakir Ali and Wasay Jalil and apprised them of the problems being faced by them due to the SSGC’s decision to increase the duration of the weekly loadshedding from 24 hours to 36 hours.

The association chairman, Shabbir Sulemanji, said that with the announcement of the increased loadshedding, the CNG stations’ closure schedule was being implemented from 9pm on Friday instead of 9am on Saturday.

The MQM leaders assured the delegation that they would strive to bring an end to the 36-hour CNG loadshedding.

They urged Dr Asim Hussain, the petroleum adviser, and other higher authorities to bring an end to 36-hour CNG loadshedding to help provide relief to the people as well as owners of CNG stations.