Thursday June 01, 2023

Suspension of gas supply: SHC stays notification for non-export industries

December 18, 2021
Suspension of gas supply: SHC stays notification for non-export industries

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has restrained the Ministry of Energy and the Sui Gas companies from giving any effect the government’s notification of suspending gas supply to non-export general industries till further orders.

The interim order came on lawsuits of general industries against the federal government’s decision for suspension of supply of gas to all non-export industries till further orders. The plaintiffs' counsel submitted that their clients were leading general industries (non-export) based in Karachi and in other parts of Sindh creating thousands of job opportunities, as well as contributing billions of rupees as tax revenues for the national exchequer, greater than any other province.

They submitted that as per load management plan presented to the cabinet for December, 2021 to January, 2022, it was decided that gas will be provided to general industries (non-export) on weekly rotational basis with one day off for each sector.

They submitted that despite such policy, the Ministry of Energy issued a notice whereby 100pc closure for all general industries (non export including captive power units) was announced by the SSGC from December 11, 2021 till further notice. They submitted that SSGC has not even stated when gas supply will be normalized in impugned notice.

They submitted that impugned notice was issued in utter violation and utmost disregard to the framework laid down by the Constitution, as well as, aimed to disturbing inter-provincial harmony. They said that abrupt and uncertain closure of gas would not only bring the business sector to a halt, but will also result in joblessness as well as pushing the plaintiffs into defaulting on the investment made in their businesses.

The SHC’s single bench, headed by Justice Zulfiqar Ahmed Khan, observed that contentions raised by the counsel merit consideration. The court issued notices to deputy attorney general, Sui Southern Gas Company and others for January 11 and in the meanwhile the defendants have been restrained from giving any effect to the impugned notice of December 10, 2021 for suspending gas to non-export general industries till the next date of hearing.

The court also restrained SSGC from disconnecting gas to the plaintiffs subject to payment of currently monthly bills by the latter.