Suspension of the two-and-half-day CNG closure might have eased commuters’ problems, but it has wreaked havoc in homes. The stay granted by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on November 19 has resulted in low gas pressure for domestic users, said Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) in its petitioned filed with the IHC on Thursday.
Justice Riaz Ahmed heard preliminary arguments on Friday and fixed the next hearing for December 8, after issuing notices to all the respondents. SNGPL said CNG stations had installed equipment that “sucks gas from the system” and creates deficiency of gas for domestic users.
The low pressure, SNGPL lawyer Asim Fayyaz argued, had forced some residents of the city to come out onto the roads. The IHC had stayed SNGPL’s notification of weekly CNG holidays after more than 90 CNG stations filed a petition arguing that Islamabad’s CNG usage was much less than other cities.
Taxis throng filling stations
Since the stay ordered issued by the IHC is just applicable to Islamabad, gas stations in Rawalpindi continue to remain shut down from Thursday morning through Saturday afternoon. People, especially taxi drivers, in their desperate attempt to get CNG have started coming to Islamabad, which resulted in huge lines at all major CNG filling stations in the city on Friday.
Adeel Hussain, waiting at a filling station in Aabpara, said the situation was much better before. “I do not understand what they have achieved through the stay order. Now there is no gas pressure either at the pumps or our homes.”
Another man at the fuel station, Muhammad Arif, blamed the government for the crisis. “It has failed to resolve this crisis; since four years the government has failed to provide relief to the common man.”
Anum, who lives in I-8/4, said she cannot cook due to low gas pressure. “The pressure dies early in the morning and stays that way the entire day.”
It seems the filling stations, too, have not benefited from the stay order. An employee of a gas station in Aabpara said before the stay order they sold Rs0.3 million worth of gas in a day. But now, due to low gas pressure, they make just Rs0.2 million.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2011.
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