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Ogra held responsible for petrol crisis

Probe panel submits report to PM; Ogra serves notices on 11 OMCs; seeks replies in three days time

By our correspondents
January 21, 2015
ISLAMABAD: The head of the two-member committee constituted by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to investigate the ongoing fuel crisis and fix responsibility has absolved Minister for Petroleum Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and held the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) responsible, which has no Member Oil since July 2014.
Fuel shortage has hit the Punjab province badly, bringing the popularly graph of the PML-N to its lowest ebb.Committee member Zahid Muzaffar has also held Deputy Managing Director, Pakistan State Oil (PSO), Sohail Butt, responsible for not timely importing petrol, leading to his suspension. Interestingly, the two-member committee prepared the report within hours and submitted it to the prime minister in the first part of Tuesday though the prime minister had sought the report within 24 hours.
The two-member committee, headed by Zahid Muzaffar, told the prime minister that fuel shortage was a serious failure on the part of Ogra as regulator.Meanwhile, shortly after the two-member probe committee held it responsible for the petrol crisis in the country, Ogra swung into action and served notices on 11 oil marketing companies (OMCs) for not maintaining petrol stocks and asked them to submit their replies within three days, a top official at the regulator told The News.
The OMCs will be fined up to Rs20 million and their licences can also be cancelled if they failed to satisfy the regulator.The OMCs are legally bound to maintain stocks for 20 days consumption. Shortage of fuel testifies to the fact that the OMCs were not maintaining stocks. The companies which got notices also include PSO, Shell, Total, Bakri, Byco and Attock Oil.After getting the replies, the Ogra will decide either to penalise or cancel the licenses of OMCs, the official said.