Endless suffering

 
September 28, 2020

It appears that the people of the country are faced with endless suffering in terms of the utilities they receive, even though they pay large amounts for these. Now, after meeting in the Prime...

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It appears that the people of the country are faced with endless suffering in terms of the utilities they receive, even though they pay large amounts for these. Now, after meeting in the Prime Minister’s office, Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Nadeem Babar, have said that Sindh and Sui Southern will suffer a shortfall of 400 million cubic feet per day in gas, and that this would mean a severe shortage of gas for both industry and for domestic consumers. The federal government has blamed the Sindh government for the problem, stating that it had refused to allow, despite requests over the last year and a half, for a right of way to be given for a gas pipeline to be built, from Port Qasim to regions where it is required by industry. Omar Ayub and Nadeem Babar say that these decisions will cost Sindh as gas would have to be reduced for industry as well as all consumers. They have however emphasised that arrangements will be made to ensure that people have gas on which to cook at least three times a day.

This, of course, is extremely limited. Already from parts of Karachi, it is being reported that hardly any gas is received during the day and cooking times for various families vary, making it difficult for them to adjust to the periods when gas may be available in the city. There is also concern it may not be available at all, in some sectors, or on some days. This is not a sustainable situation.

Various industries, including those representing the textile sector, and other key sectors have gone to the court against the increase in gas tariff over a period of time. The government has said it will be imposing a new charge for gas spread out over 24 months and to be collected in installments. The situation raises many questions about the state of our country and whether it is able to deliver even the most basic needs to people. It has been explained that gas cannot be diverted to Sindh from the Punjab, or other provinces – as the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines will also be suffering a shortfall of about 350 million cubic feet per day, making it impossible to take away gas from these spots. The situation is a dire one. We await solutions.



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