CNG pricing

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A two-member bench of the Supreme Court, hearing the case regarding the pricing of Compressed Natural Gas in the country, declared in its verdict delivered on Friday that the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority had completely failed to protect the rights of consumers.

The court also stated that Ograís pricing formula was flawed, included exorbitant additional charges and was, as such, against the law. The formula has been declared null and void and Ogra ordered to come up with a new one in coordination with the federal government. The court had earlier observed that, though it did not want to interfere with pricing mechanisms, the rights of the people too had to be protected.

People will certainly be relieved that some effort has been made to lessen the enormous burden they face regarding CNG prices and availability. As the court pointed out, the price of CNG (per kilo) has increased from Rs33 in 2008 to Rs95 in 2012, a huge jump that has also affected transport costs in the country. People have also had to face CNG load-shedding, days when the gas is simply unavailable and low pressure at filling stations.

The courtís decision regarding CNG prices is a step forward in addressing the many issues ordinary citizens face. It now falls on the federal government to find a more equitable way to price CNG. It has been an unfortunate scene: people struggling to keep up with the rising prices. As the SC has pointed out, the issue needs to be sorted out so that the problem can be fixed without further delay. If nothing else, the state should, at the very least, ensure that its citizens are able to buy the fuel they need at a fair price. The key question whether CNG prices were deliberately manipulated to make some quick millions or billions on the side by people in power remains to be investigated and exposed.

Courtesy: † The News

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