The owners of compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in Sindh have called for ensuring viability of the fuel as new energy sources are being introduced, some to replace it. They also asked the government to bridge disparity in gas suspensions among the provinces based on the gas production of each province.
Sindh CNG Association gathered hundreds of station owners at its Sindh CNG Convention 2012-13. The federal minister Senator Mola Bux Chandio and Senator Aajiz Dhamrah also attended and allayed their concerns.
“I feel sad to hear from Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif when they insist that there should be equal load shedding [of CNG and gas] in Punjab and Sindh,” said Abdul Sami Khan, chairman of the association.
The association’s representatives cite the huge difference between gas production in the two provinces to argue that the constitution’s Article 158 gives Sindh the right to fulfill its demand first. While Punjab has a meagre contribution of around 8% in the gas production, Sindh contributes about 70% to the national total.
“For over 50 million people in Sindh we have 600 CNG stations,” said Zulfiqar Yousfani, association’s president. “But Punjab has four times higher number of CNG stations at over 2,400 though its population is only double than Sindh’s.”
Yousfani also pleaded the minister to fight the case of CNG in the Parliament claiming that over Rs1 trillion have been invested in the sector. According to him, half of this estimated amount has been spent by the CNG stations while the rest by the millions of vehicles, dealers and other people indirectly involved in the sector. More than 2.5 million people are employed by the sector, he added.
“The government should introduce the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the same way it introduced CNG as alternative to petrol and diesel,” he proposed.
However, the senior general manager of SSGC, Abdullah Mustafa, shrugged off taking any responsibility for the shortage and suspension. “We only have to transport it [gas]. Shortage relates to the exploration and production processes.” He explained that the CNG sector is at the fourth place on the government’s priority list with domestic consumers being at the top followed by fertiliser industry and the power sector.
Chandio while assuring the worried businessmen of all possible government help, tried to make them realise that they are themselves a part of the problem. “The government had not planned to expand the sector to the level that we see today,” he explained. Chandio blamed the previous government and bureaucrats for allowing the sector to expand to the point where demand and supply gap could not be maintained.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2012.
More in BusinessMost of technology shifting to mobile apps