LPG air mix project in doldrums after federal, G-B govts at loggerheads

The project was formulated to provide gas to far-off areas of the country where it is not feasible to lay pipelines

Shabbir Mir February 05, 2020
The project is formulated to provide gas to far-off areas of the country where it is not feasible to lay pipelines. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

GILGIT: The future of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) air mix project, considered highly climate friendly, seems in danger due to the negligence and ego issues prevailing between the federal and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) governments.

The project, approved by the previous government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), was formulated to provide gas to far-off areas of the country where it is not feasible to lay pipelines.

In March 2018, G-B Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman while performing the groundbreaking had vowed to complete Rs2.5 billion projects in 10 months.

“The G-B government wasn’t proactive to get the required funds from the Centre once the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) replaced the PML-N ,” an official privy to the development of the region told The Express Tribune on Tuesday.

He added: "Since the project was originally the PML-N’s brain-child, it did not stand anywhere on the priority list of the ruling PTI government. However, the chief minister also did not keep a regular tab on the progress of the project.”

Initially, the project that was specifically meant for Gilgit city, was expected to benefit at least 30,000 households serving as the first ever such initiative in the mountainous region of G-B inhabited by 1.5 million people.

Under the project, the Sui Northern Gas Corporation (SNGC) had initially set up gas plant in Gilgit city. But, CM Rehman later explained the delay of the project by saying that the process of placing pipelines is derailed due to the indifferent attitude from the federal government.

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In his meeting with Federal Minister for Power and Petroleum Omar Ayub Khan this week, the G-B chief minister also raised the issue asking the former to assist in removing the hurdles that have caused the unnecessary delay in the execution of the project.

“I informed the minister about the importance that the project holds for G-B and also the factors contributing to its delay,” an official statement issued by the CM secretariat cited CM Rehman as saying.

According to the communique, Rehman apprised Khan that due to the absence of gas in winters, people in G-B heavily rely on wood for heating in this freezing temperature. "The issue is also causing power load shedding in the region."

Censuring the negligence of  the federal government during the first phase of the project where the pipelines were supposed to be laid, the chief minister said that he has conveyed the issue to the authorities concerned but to no avail. “I am bringing to your notice hoping to have a breakthrough.”

In response, the federal minister termed the chief minister’s G-B-related reservations genuine and assured him that the ‘vital project’ wouldn’t go waste. “I’ve already had the file with me and things will be streamlined in next two weeks,” Ayub said.


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