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PHC orders crackdown on closed CNG stations

December 04, 2012

PESHAWAR, Dec 4: Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan on Tuesday directed Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) to take action against the provincial capital’s CNG stations, which have been closed for many days.

SNGPL was also told to ensure supply of natural gas with normal pressure to the local residents.

The directions were issued during the hearing into routine cases.

The chief justice had taken a suo motu notice of the low pressure of natural gas in several areas and the continuous closure of most CNG stations in the city for around a week.

He had summoned SNGPL General Manager Mohammad Haroon and directed him to take action against those CNG stations violating decision of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority by either keeping their stations closed or overcharging visitors.

He observed that consumers had been facing multiple hardships due to closure of CNG stations.

Justice Dost Mohammad regretted that after the beginning of winter season, SNGPL had kept the pressure of natural gas low causing mishaps in many areas.

He observed that in past, the high court had issued clear directives to SNGPL not to observe gas loadshedding in the province, but that order had not been strictly followed.

The SNGPL general manager said most CNG stations were involved in theft of gas. He said contrary to permissible installation of a single compressor, several CNG stations had installed three gas compressors. He added that in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, SNGPL had so far taken action against 124 of such CNG stations.

The chief justice observed that the government should have introduced stringent penalties for gas theft. He observed that initially, the government had failed to impose strict penalties on power thieves and that led to an increase in such incidents.He added that the theft of natural gas was on the rise.

Justice Dost Mohammad said the factories and CNG stations were involved in gas theft but the authorities had been victimising domestic consumers by providing them with low pressure gas, which was of no use to them.

The SNGPL general manager said some CNG stations managed to get stay orders from courts against action, while armed men had been deployed at many others to prevent action.

The chief justice asked the SNGPL official to contact the interior minister for provision of Frontier Constabulary personnel for smooth crackdown on power thieves.