Thursday February 22, 2024

CNG association moves PHC against gas loadshedding in Malakand

January 07, 2016

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter of All Pakistan CNG Association on Wednesday challenged in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) the Malakand commissioner’s notification regarding 17 hours loadshedding for gas stations and seven hours for domestic consumers.

The All Pakistan CNG Association moved the petition through its chairman Fazal Muqeem against the notification issued on December 31, 2015. Shumail Ahmad Butt is the lawyer for the petitioner.

The association stated that the notification of suspension of gas to CNG stations and domestic consumers in Malakand division was in sheer violation of the PHC decision issued in 2010 restraining the federal government, SNGPL and OGRA from gas loadshedding to CNG stations and domestic consumers in the province.

The petitioner claimed the commissioner Malakand division, in line with the formula of the federal government, SNGPL and GM SNGPL, had issued the notification on December 31 directing deputy commissioner, Swat, and deputy commissioner Malakand to enforce the gas loadshedding schedule from 5am to 10pm (17 hours) for CNG stations and 7 hours for domestic consumers.

The federation through secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resource, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL), general manager SNGPL, Commissioner Malakand division, deputy commissioner Swat, deputy commissioner Malakand and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government through chief secretary were made parties in the petition.

As per the PHC judgment, the federal government shall respect the mandate of Article 158 to first provide gas to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as per its requirement.

The petition noted that soon after the judgment when the SNGPL tried to hoodwink the province and ignore Article 158, the court directed the SNGPL not to do loadshedding and instead improve the gas pressure to consumers.

It said that after stern warnings and threatening actions, the situation saw marked improvements as SNGPL stopped the practice of loadshedding for consumers in general and CNG filling stations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in particular.

It said that despite proclaimed policy of no loadshedding in the province, consumers have been facing occasional dips in gas pressure while the federal government had placed a moratorium on giving new connections.

As a matter of fact, it said, till this day the province continues to be a net exporter of gas and produces more gas than its consumption. The petition stressed that the province must be insulated from the gas loadshedding.

The petition noted that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources is insincere in its dealing with the province and hasn’t provided accurate information of production and consumption data even to the provincial government.

As per the official record presented in the National Assembly, the Minister for Petroleum in the 27th session of the assembly on December 17 admitted that till this date Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been a net exporter as it produces over 362 million cubic feet (MCF) of gas per day while its consumption is far low at 293 MMCFD.

It said the petroleum minister hadn’t included the data from the new gas fields of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa whose production was added to the network later. It noted that Makori East and Mamikhel gas fields, which produce 40 MMCFD, have now come on line and presently the province is producing from 395 to 400 MMCFD of gas. The petition added that soon the gas production from KP would be further augmented with the new Mardankhel field producing 65 MMCFD.

The petition argued that based on misinformation and wrongful data supplied by the federal government and SNGPL, commissioners and deputy commissioners have started instructing the petitioners and CNG stations in different districts to shut down the stations in total violation of Article 158 and the judgment of the court.