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Supreme Court rejects CNG price hike, seeks record

December 05, 2012

A closed CNG retail station in Karachi.—File Photo
A closed CNG retail station in Karachi.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a request submitted by the CNG station owners seeking an increase in the price of per kilo price of Compressed Natural Gas and sought records pertaining to the details of tariff accounts, DawnNews reported.

A two-member bench of the apex court comprising of Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain heard the case pertaining to the price of CNG.

During today's hearing, Salman Akram Raja, the counsel for Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), presented his arguments before the bench.

The court sought records pertaining to the tariff accounts of 3395 CNG stations, pointing out the existence of filling stations operating without licenses and asked four questions in this regard.

The first query related to the number of requests the Ogra had received for CNG  stations licenses, followed by the second question regarding the  number of licenses issued by the regulatory authority.

The court continued to inquire about the number of license requests rejected by Ogra and the number of licenses 'pocketed' by station owners.

In his remarks, Justice Khawaja termed the CNG association as a cartel, adding that, the government appeared to oblige to the demands made by the so-called cartel.

He further said that the court was not concerned with whether or not the cabinet had the issue of CNG pricing formula on its agenda and that the court and the parliament had their own respective powers.

Ogra's counsel informed the court that the new pricing was formulated after including the input from public hearings and stakeholders.

During the hearing, Justice Hussain said the matter was in the courts and a section of society was being severely affected by it, adding that, the ministry of petroleum should attend to the issue for the sake of public interest.

Lawyer for the Sindh CNG association, Dr Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, said that the price of CNG was completely deregulated and that neither the courts nor the ministry of petroleum had the authority to decide the price of CNG.

The hearing was later adjourned to Dec 6 (Thursday).