LAHORE: Reacting on the petroleum ministry’s decision to provide uninterrupted gas supply to industries in Punjab, All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) Punjab chapter has issued a deadline to the ministry for increasing gas supply to the CNG sector or face a complete shut down of all stations in the province indefinitely.
APCNGA President Punjab Shujja Anwar set May 9 as the deadline for ministry to increase gas supply and announced to close CNG stations a day later if demands are not met. He also appealed for a march towards Islamabad incase ministry failed to respond to the demands.
“The sector that provides cheap fuel to millions of consumers is being neglected continuously by the ministry, we welcomed the decision as it will benefit the industries of the province but the authorities should also announce some relief for the CNG sector,” he said. “We are amazed that in peak summer season CNG producers are asked to open stations only for four days a week,” he said.
Punjab industry uses 700 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of gas daily whereas CNG sector’s daily consumption is only 163 mmcfd, which is only 8.81% of the total gas supplied to Punjab, according to the official. With such minimal usage, CNG sector is paying a tariff of Rs748.87 per million British thermal units (mmbtu) while the industry is paying Rs494.86 per mmbtu. The industry is being given an annual subsidy of Rs64.90 billion, whereas Rs15.11 billion is being given as subsidy to the CNG sector, he added.
“We are not expecting much from minister Dr Asim Hussain as he is not a politician and doesn’t recognise the problem of common people, he is acting like a powerful industrialist who desire to shut down the CNG sector and let industries reap benefits from continuous gas supply, he said. CNG sector of Punjab is paying Rs44.55 billion annually along with Rs5.95 billion annually to the government in the form of taxes, he said. The figures suggest that this sector should be given priority over other sectors, however, the sector is being neglected, added Anwar.
Anwar agreed that a policy should be given shape to restrict CNG use in heavy luxury vehicles. “We agree to President Asif Ali Zardari’s suggestion and are ready to cooperate with the government in formulating a strategy,” he added.
The deadline has been set, if the ministry fails to act in the given time then they should prepare to face the music as we will not be marching towards Islamabad alone, the general public will also join hands with APCNGA for easing out the restrictions imposed on this sector, Anwar added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2012.