Proposal to shut down Punjab CNG stations criticized


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Monday criticized the proposal to shut down CNG filling stations in Punjab for two months to provide additional natural gas to power houses.

Terming the move as anti-masses, it said that captive power plants (CPPs) that have inflicted a loss of over Rs 400 billion on country in the last six years should be closed to reduce load shedding.

Discontinuing gas supply to unproductive CPPs and provision to gas to efficient power plants will boost power production by 500 MW reducing the intensity of energy crisis to benefit masses, industry, fertilizer sector and masses, said Dr Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

In a statement issued here on Monday, he said that government must review policy of providing natural gas to ineffective captive power plants that have wasted gas worth over Rs 400 billion in last five years or over 70 billion per annum.

CPPs continue to operate over the years without approval of Ogra and Nepra despite opposition by the ministry of water and power, planning commission, recommendations of independent experts and orders by the Supreme Court, he added.

Mughal said that outdated CPPs have wasted natural gas worth Rs 350 billion during former regime but the practice continues till the day while the recommendations by different departments have fallen on deaf ears.

He noted that despite the orders of former CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry issued on December 09, 2013, no decision has been taken to stop the scrap plants from wastage which amounts to safeguarding interests of few industrialists over tens of millions of masses.

Mughal said that the former government pleased owners of CPPs on the cost of domestic consumers, CNG, fertilizer and general industry by frequently altering the gas supply priority list.

The country would not have faced acute energy shortages if decision were taken on merit and the gas was provided to efficient power houses which are one of the biggest hurdle is the resolution of the energy crisis in Pakistan.

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