Amid dropping temperatures, Abbottabad and Mansehra district residents complain of low gas pressures, especially during peak hours.
In an attempt to cope with the situation, the Mansehra administration has announced a management plan for CNG stations that would remain effective for two months. According to residents of Kehal, Kunj, Malikpura and other urban localities, the situation has worsened following the district’s first snowfall. “I cannot easily cook food for my children because of the low pressure,” said Razia Bibi, a housewife from upper Kehal. She added that using gas heaters is a necessity to keep warm between December and February.
Due to the worsening situation, women have been forced to either use kerosene stoves or LPG cylinders for cooking, prices of which spiral upward in winters. Additionally, after a renewed bout of daily load shedding power outages of up to 12 hours have further aggravated the situation. Tandoors, eateries, bakeries and other snack shops are among the worst affected commercial businesses.
The district coordination officer Mansehra has ordered uninterrupted gas supply to domestic consumers and issued a gas management schedule for CNG stations operating in the area. According to a notification, all 32 CNG stations would have to close gas supply daily from 6am to 9am and 5pm to 8pm and violators would face a 48-hour ban as penalty. The gas management plan will remain effective till March 1 according to the notification. Hazara division was earlier exempted from gas load shedding like the rest of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2012.