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January 24, 2021

Overblown bills without gas supply

Islamabad

January 24, 2021

Islamabad:“Think about coming home and finding an overblown gas bill. For residents of Fazal Town Phase-I, Street No. 3, behind Butt Market surviving the coldest night, means, wearing as many clothes as possible, gathering together in a single room, and sleeping close to an electric heater. “We have got to keep warm anyhow,” says Farah Hussain.

“I and my two kids, 8 and 10, live in a house with a geyser lacking gas. Without heat or hot water, I can’t keep my family warm as I cannot have an electric heater being a mother of modest income,” says Fizza Mehdi.

“As temperatures drop every winter, we need the proper gas supply but our complaints about inadequate gas supply always fall on deaf ears of the SNGPL officials. For us, winter means real torture. I have got over rupees four thousand gas bill,” says Madeeha Ali.

Saulat Raza says, “It is particularly painful to people of modest means like us. At a certain stage, we stop paying utility bills. Whether fault lay with the SNGPL officials, unpaid bills or merely a broken heater almost seemed irrelevant last month as we tried hard to keep warm after rain spell.”

Shireen Hasan was not as bothered by the loss of heat as her children. “My kids are complaining, not me,” she said. “I'm used to it. The family dealt with the cold by wearing extra layers of clothing.

Anum Ali, a nurse, tried to stave off the cold by stuffing her clothing under the bedroom door and keeping thick plastic wrap over the window. At night, she settles for extra blankets and clothing. “I'm just worried about my kids,” adds she.

Zainab, a schoolteacher, says, “I am receiving a far lesser quantity of gas than required so it is difficult for me to cook food. Because of the shortage of gas, I cannot even prepare a cup of tea. We pay gas bills regularly still we are facing low gas pressure. We are using gas cylinders.”

“Despite proper lodging of complaints for many years now and making many rounds to the SNGPL we see no relief at all. I am using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder and picking up naan and roti from the tandoor. Last month I got my gas cylinder filled at the rate of Rs120 per kilo, this month the gas dealer demanded Rs250 per kilo,” says Farhat Abbas.

Anwer Zaidi says, "When is the supply of gas going to be better? We have put this question to SNGPL repeatedly. Resentment prevails among us over the low gas pressure, as the proper pipeline is required here. Moreover, gas pilferage through illegal gas outlets in the area is adding to the crisis. There is no check by the authorities on such pilferages."