Pre-elections bonanza: Gas is short but supply schemes are abundant
ISLAMABAD, Jan 9: Unruffled by the depleting gas reserves, Senate Chairman Syed Nayyer Hussian Bokhari on Wednesday inaugurated another gas supply scheme this time for Kirpa, a suburban village of the capital, amid cheers and praises.
In the scenario, when the settled areas of the twin cities, having connections for decades, are not getting gas due to low pressure, Mr Bukhari is regularly inaugurating new schemes and most of them lie in NA- 49.
As elections approaches, the inauguration of gas supply schemes has become a regular feature for the parliamentarians of the ruling party, though the gas utility company and the regulator oppose the politically-motivated move.
“We have made it clear to the policy makers that laying gas pipelines on political grounds will prove damaging for the company and the system,” said a senior official of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL).
However, a PPP worker belonging to the rural area of Islamabad said that it was the duty of the elected government to bring improvements in the underdeveloped areas.
The Jamaat-i-Islami candidate for NA-49 Zubair Farooq Khan, however, said that the masses knew the motive behind launching
gas supply schemes by the PPP.
“At least there is something they are giving to the residents but they must ensure that the gas is supplied to the area too,” Mr Khan said.
However, in technical terms extending gas network to rural areas will not play a significant role in their up-gradation, except that the price and rental rates of property would go up.
The statistics of SNGPL show that Rawalpindi and Islamabad face 100 million cubic feet daily (mmcfd) shortfall.
“Currently gas demand in twin cities was around 300 mmcfd whereas the supply was around 200 mmcfd,” said an official of the SNGPL, adding “Many city areas of Rawalpindi and Islamabad are not getting gas for 12 to 14 hours.”
Meanwhile, an official of the Oil and gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) said the regulator had warned the policy makers that extending gas network too far and wide could make SNGPL and the SSGC operations unfeasible.
“If we continue with this pace there will be no gas even in summer for all the domestic consumers,” the Ogra official told Dawn.
“The rural people could use traditional fuel, but the urban residents will be left with no option but to use LPG (liquefied
petroleum gas),” he said.
However, it would not only be an additional financial burden on the masses but teasing as well because the LPG too regularly becomes short.
“The rural areas have a localised economy with many options like dung and firewood, but what we need is to develop a system that these resources do not become scarce,” the official added.