ISLAMABAD: Amid riots and destruction of public assets following power outages, the government has finalised a plan to amend gas allocation plans which will divert more gas to the power sector to maximise generation.
The new gas allocation plan would maximise power generation and reduce electricity rates for consumers.
Officials told The Express Tribune that gas supply to the power sector would be enhanced from the existing 300 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) to over 700 mmcfd. Under the plan, the government envisages to enhance power generation to the maximum level of 15,600MW.
At present, four power plants including Halmore, Orient, Sapphire and Saif with a combined power generation capacity of 839MW have been running either on High Speed Diesel (HSD) or have remained closed most of the time after gas agreements with SNGPL expired last year.
“After changing the priority list order of gas allocation, these plants would get assured gas supply to generate power at Rs7 per unit compared to Rs13.45 per unit through furnace oil and Rs19.40 per unit through HSD,” an official of the Ministry of Water and Power promised.
“Under the revised plan, gas companies will sign gas supply agreements with Pepco’s plants and IPPs to provide uninterrupted gas supply throughout the year,” sources said.
In the existing policy of gas allocation, the fertilizer sector and industrial sectors have been placed in the second category while CNG sector and captive power producers of export oriented textiles in the fourth category.
“In the revised gas allocation policy, fertilizer, captive power plants and industry have been proposed to be placed at number three in the priority list,” the petroleum secretary said.
Meanwhile, protests and outrage by citizens continued across Punjab on the sixth day.
The Kamalia Sadar police in Toba Tek Singh booked 200 people including 17 nominated and 183 unknown accused on charge of setting police mobile vans on fire during protests against the load shedding. However, no arrest in this regard was made so far.
Kamalia also witnessed complete shutter down strike on the second consecutive day on Wednesday, following the riots of Tuesday in which three persons including a 13-year-old boy were reportedly shot dead while more than 83 persons injured including Toba Tek Singh District Police Officer (DPO) Ahsan Younus, Kamalia DSP Akbar Ali Niaz.
Following the riots, heavy police contingents were deputed in the town. However, traders, shopkeepers and party workers staged demonstrations nonetheless.
In Multan, about a half dozen demonstrations were staged in various parts of the city. Protesters chanted slogans against the government and FESCO. Demonstrators ransacked signboards on various
Protests also continued all over southern and central Punjab. On Wednesday, protesters blocked the national highway connecting Multan to Lahore near Kacha Khoo.
Enraged demonstrators also attacked a truck full of mangoes while the traffic was blocked. They soon resorted to throwing mangoes on each other, the traffic and the police.
(WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING FROM OUR CORRESPONDENTS IN FAISALABAD AND MULTAN)
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2012.