RAWALPINDI: With gas pressure disappearing with falling temperatures in the garrison city, dozens of angry residents gathered outside the main office of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) on Jhelum Road and staged a protest.
The dense fog aggravated the situation even further.
The gathered protesters complained that they had been without gas for several days now. A veiled woman protesting outside the SNGPL office said that they had implored the SNGPL general manager to ensure gas supply but to no avail.
She said that they were protesting on the streets as a last resort.
Adnan Khan, one of the protestors, said that a senior official of the SNGPL had held talks with the protestors and assured them that the member of national assembly from their area wanted, he could solve their problem.
The protester added that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan represented his area (NA-56), however, he the parliamentarian had not visited his constituency since winning the election. The protester noted that it was frustrating to have to reach out to their area politicians for provision of basic necessities of life.
The situation is dire in suburban areas of the city such as Adiala Road, Dhamial Road, Chakri Road, Girja Road as well as the rural areas. The residents of suburbs and villages resort to using either LPG cylinders or wood as fuel in the winter season.
“We have had no gas supply for the entire day and citizens use gas sucking devices that create further problems for us,” said Abrar Ahmed who is a resident of Gorakhpur village on Adiala Road.
“The only time I get a chance to have a hot bath is five in the morning since there is no gas after that,” cried Ahmed.
He added that his family had to resort to using Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cooking food, while burning wood for other purposes such as to heat water for washing clothes or cleaning utensils.
The situation is no better in the city and cantonment areas where residents have resorted to burning wood.
“We cannot use wood as we do not have space in the kitchen to burn it and deal with the dense smoke, so our only option is LPG which is far more expensive than natural gas,” said another resident Aftab Ahmed, who lives in Sadiqabad area of Rawalpindi. He added that the absence of gas in the morning adds to their woes when there is a rush to get the children to school and to get to work.
A senior SNGPL officer, while requesting anonymity, said that there were certain areas where gas management was required owing to the sharp increase in demand during the winter season.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2017.
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