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November 23, 2020

Regular bills, irregular gas!

Islamabad

November 23, 2020

Islamabad : There are interesting things about the gas billing and gas supply by the SNGPL.

With the advent of winter, the gas supply has already become erratic. Citizens, who have become tired of raising any protests against this annual feature, that has become so predictable for past few years, have quickly rescheduled their cooking and bathing activities. No more sizzling ‘prathas’, no more freshly fried sunny side up eggs for breakfast now. Thanks to an electric kettle, one at least gets a steaming cup of tea still. However, those who can wait for such a ‘dream breakfast’ in winter need to stay put till past 10 am and there is a chance they may be able to get one. But not on the days when it is overcast or raining!

For taking a hot shower one must either get up at around 5 am or shall stay awake till 2 or may be 3 am to take a hot shower before going to bed because in those hours there may be enough gas available to switch on the water geysers. Those lucky ones who can afford the luxury of owning a microwave oven (this may sound funny to many but actually how many households in the country do have microwave ovens?) can still enjoy a hot meal!

Those who can afford have already got their LPG gas cylinders filled, obviously at an exorbitant cost as compared with the gas supplied by SNGPL or the SSGPL! But the SNGPL monthly bill delivered at one’s doorsteps was shocking if not outrageous. Despite the fact that gas supply remained badly disrupted the bill amount was well over double than what people have received last month. Or for that matter, of last many months, comparatively.

While the gas companies (SNGPL & SSGPL) are charging the domestic consumers on higher sides with less gas supplied to them, the government is too eager to facilitate the industrial sector to get as much gas as they may need. Because they produce exportable items, which helps the country earn much needed and precious foreign exchange. We agree that every Dollar or even every cent counts! The common man is not an economist or accountant or a statistician. But people would definitely feel enlightened if some expert may explain to them how much foreign exchange is earned for the country by these industrialists and how much is remitted by our labour class working overseas?

These overseas workers don’t ask for any tax reliefs, subsidies and so much more from the government like these industrialists. Neither they threat to stop working if the government would not accept their demands to provide them any kind of relief they may believe they deserve.

On the contrary, these industrialists immediately stop their factories and manufacturing, assembling units and the government always succumbs to the pressure they mount, eventually granting what they are demanding at the expense of the masses.

One really wonders if the government may grant the status of ‘Industry’ to these overseas Pakistanis who are remitting foreign exchange to the country and may come up with some effective plan to grant them some subsidies, tax reliefs, low air fares, or any other incentives?

Apologies! Drifted away from the topic!