The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday admitted a miscellaneous petition of the state-owned gas supplier seeking resumption of three days gas loadshedding for CNG stations of Islamabad.
The IHC Chief Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan issued notices to owners of 47 CNG stations to respond to the plea filed by Sui Northern Gas Pipeline (SNGPL) for Thursday.
During the hearing, SNGPL counsel Asim Hafeez contended that the stay order issued by the IHC on November 18 suspending a government notification regarding the load management has been misinterpreted.
He said that the IHC’s stay order was issued in response to the most recent notification issued by the government on August 18 this year, which forewarned a possible seven to 14 days continuous suspension of gas supply to CNG stations due to the deepening gas crisis.
However, he said the CNG station owners have misinterpreted the court order believing that the notification issued in August 2010, enforcing three days of gas loadshedding for CNG stations in Islamabad, had been stayed.
He maintained that since the portion of the notification of the three-day a week shutdown was still intact, SNGPL officials asked the CNG stations to implement the load management schedule.
He said the CNG stations owners forcibly resisted SNGPL staff and obstructed them from performing their duty of implementing the load management schedule.
He claimed that “they also threatened SNGPL staff of dire consequences”, adding that in order to save its employees SNGPL was constrained to direct its staff to leave the CNG stations. As a consequence of inability of SNGPL to implement load management schedule, the residents of Islamabad are being deprived of the supply of gas and are experiencing low pressure, he added.
He requested the court to clarify its November 18 order, whether it has suspended the August 2010 notification or the one issued by the government this year, and pass the order that SNGPL is entitled to enforce load management schedule and disconnect gas supply for CNG stations.
The counsel for the SNGPL told the court that CNG stations have installed equipment that sucks gas from the system and creates shortage of gas in residential areas. He said that the residents of Islamabad have been protesting against the shortage of gas supply, asking the court to vacate its stay order.
It is pertinent to mention here that IHC on November 18, 22 and 24 on the petitions of over 90 CNG station owners suspended the implementation of SNGPL notification regarding three-day a week gas loadshedding for CNG stations.
A total of 47 CNG station owners of the federal capital challenged the government’s three-day gas load management plan on grounds that the federal capital should be treated as a separate territory. The counsel for the petitioners, Makhdoom Ali Khan, had stated that apart from Islamabad, the notification also applied to Attock, Jhelum, Chakwal and Azad Kashmir.
He maintained that these areas come in the jurisdiction of Punjab and their gas consumption is higher than that of the federal capital.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2011.