The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources was informed on Thursday that gas companies had sought a 17 per cent increase in the gas tariff to finance parliamentarians’ development schemes.
The committee met on Thursday with Sardar Talib Hassan Nakai in the chair.
Officials of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) representative Jawad Naseem challenged each other over the decision of Ogra to halt the ongoing development schemes of the parliamentarians.
Naseem said that SNGPL had no funds to complete the ongoing projects because Ogra had halted the development schemes. But an Ogra official said that the authority had not stopped the ongoing development schemes.
Ogra issued directives to SNGPL on Monday to resume work on the ongoing development projects, Member (Gas) Mansoor Muzaffar told the parliamentary body.
He said that Ogra had not sought any policy guidelines on halting the development schemes of the parliamentarians and, therefore, it could issue directives to SNGPL to resume the ongoing development projects.
Meanwhile, amid charges of granting CNG station licences illegally and relocating station sites, the Cabinet Division has moved a summary to the prime minister to extend the forced leave of the Ogra chairman until the completion of the Federal Service Commission (FPSC) enquiry into the affair.
Additional Secretary Cabinet Division Shahidullah Baig informed the committee that Ogra Chairman Tauqeer Sadiq had been sent on forced leave for three months, which would end on August 28.
Sadiq has been accused of granting 500 CNG station licences despite a ban on new CNG stations.
The parliamentary panel had earlier sought the complete record of the 500 CNG stations which, it said, it would review on a case-to-case basis from September 5.
Sadiq had challenged the government’s decision in the Islamabad High Court, which dismissed his petition. He appealed against the decision, which was also dismissed.
The committee members expressed their disappointment over the failure of Ogra authorities to provide them with the complete record of the relocation of CNG station sites.
MNA Barjees Tahir said that Ogra had allowed the relocation of 47 CNG station sites, but provided the committee with the record of only one case, which was related to a parliamentarian from the PML-Q.
Another member of the committee, MNA Jamshed Dasti, said that all officials of Ogra were ‘thieves,’ trying to save each other’s skin. “Ogra authorities have been involved in the fraud. Culprits should be taken to task,” Dasti said.
He alleged that Ogra had hired agents to strike deals on CNG station licences. “I have the addresses of those agents who have been on the penal of Ogra,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2011.