Gasless days perturb citizens, disturb economy


Karachi: Closure of CNG stations due to gas load shedding that was introduced in Pakistan for winter season on the pretext of higher consumption of gas due to cold temperature has become a whole year affair as CNG stations are being closed in hot weather when domestic gas consumption is low.

Similarly, the electricity load shedding a decade back was introduced in Pakistan for only summer season due to increased consumptions of electricity in hot weather because of higher demand has become a four-weather affair, as electricity consumers also brave load shedding in winter.

Due to irrational policies of the government thousands of CNG station licenses were issued during past regimes and millions of vehicles were converted to CNG. This is why the closure of CNG means slowdown of business and economic activities, as majority of public transport vehicles stop plying on their routes these ‘gasless days.’

Transportation vehicles that supply raw material to factories, finished goods to markets, and agricultural produce to Mandis are mostly also parked on the days when CNG gas is not available, said All Pakistan Organisation of Small Traders and Cottage Industry Karachi chapter President Mehmood Hamid. He said practically Saturdays and Sundays are official holidays and addition of two days of weekly gas closure means the local markets are more or less non-functional for four days a week.

However, the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has announced schedule of the C NG closure days for the week. A SSCG release said all the CNG stations will close their operations completely for two days in Karachi and Interior Sindh regions separately. During these shutdowns no gas sale will be allowed to the vehicles in entire Karachi and Sindh regions. The industrial sector will observe only one day shut down as per normal schedule on Sunday April 20, 2014.

SSGC said in compliance with ‘sectoral priority order’ for gas load management, during the coming week, all CNG Stations in Karachi region would remain closed for two days (02) days. According to the schedule, all CNG stations in Karachi Region will remain closed from 08:00 am on Tuesday April 22, 2014, till 08:00 am on Wednesday April 23, 2014 for 24 hours. Another shut down in Karachi region will be observed on Thursday April 24, 2014 from 08:00 am to Friday April 25, 2014 till 08:00 am for 24 hours.

On the other hand, in the interior Sindh the first CNG shutdown will be observed on Wednesday April 23, 2014 from 8:00 am till Thursday April 24, 2014 at 8:00 am. The second shut down in interior Sindh will start from 8.00 a.m. on Saturday April 26, 2014 and will continue till 8:00 on Sunday April 27, 2014 for 24 hours.

CNG stations found operative during this period will have their gas supply disconnected. SSGC authorities have also advised the owners of the CNG Stations not to fill CNG in those vehicles, in which safety of installation of CNG cylinders / piping is not ensured.

However, all the industrial and captive power units in the entire Sindh region will observe gas shut for one day, which will start from 7 am on Sunday April 20, 2014 and end at 7am on Monday April 21, 2014. The surveillance teams who will be monitoring compliance have been fully authorized to disconnect gas supply for 48 hours of any customer found violating the above schedule.

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