CNG outlet operators seek gas supply restoration

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CNG station operators on Thursday warned the government that if it did not restore gas supply to outlets of compressed natural gas (CNG) by Friday (today), they would launch a country-wide protest campaign.

Addressing a press conference, Chairman Supreme Council of All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) Ghayas Abdullah Paracha said that Adviser to Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim was responsible for the prevailing energy crisis, resulting in economic downturn, sluggish growth and massive unemployment.

"If the government does not restore gas supply to the CNG sector by February 1, we will initially launch a country-wide protest and subsequently, we will hold sit-ins at Lahore and Islamabad," Paracha said. Highlighting the financial contributions of the CNG sector in the country's economy, he said that the sector was paying billions of rupees in taxes, besides providing direct and indirect employment to more than 400,000 persons.

According to him, the energy crunch would continue "until and unless the incompetent Adviser Petroleum is removed". Urging the government to resolve what he termed the artificial gas crisis, he said that gas supply to the CNG sector and industries should be immediately restored. He also said that the previous schedule of gas supply to CNG filling stations across Punjab should be adhered, otherwise "we will launch a country-wide protest campaign from February 2".

He said that the protest would start from Bahawalpur, followed by protest in Multan and Vehari on February 3. On February 4, he said, a rally would be carried out in Faisalabad, then Gujranwala on February 5 and afterwards in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Karachi. Paracha warned that sit-ins would be staged in Lahore and Islamabad on February 10 if authorities concerned did not accept the CNG sector's legitimate demands.

The ongoing energy crisis had almost brought business activities to a standstill, causing closures of hundreds of thousands of businesses, forcing millions of poor people out of jobs, in addition to triggering multiple social problems in an era of double-digit inflation. LPG-air mix and LNG import projects were scams of bigger magnitude having far more serious repercussions than the ongoing Rental Power Projects case, he said. Paracha said that the energy crisis could be resolved in a few months if a high-powered committee was formed having full representation of the private sector. He said that the landmark decision of the Islamabad High Court which declared Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) illegal proved that APCNGA's claims were based on truth.

Courtesy: Business Recorder

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