Several government departments in Abbottabad owe millions of rupees to the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL). These departments include the police, district administration, government hospitals and judiciary.
The SNGPL has not disconnected the gas supply to these departments, as a result of which their dues keep on piling up, official sources told The Express Tribune.
SNGPL Regional Manager Naseer Feroz confirmed the report of non-payment of dues by the government departments. However, he appeared to be reluctant to disconnect the supply of gas, even though the company’s policy calls for disconnecting the gas lines after two months of non-payment.
According to sources, the offices and residences of Hazara Commissioner, Abbottabad District Coordination Officer (DCO), Haripur District Coordination Officer, Police Line, residence of Assistant Coordination Officer, residential quarters of some judicial officers, Bachelors’ Hostel Abbottabad, Communication and Works (C&W) department, District Headquarters Hospital Abbottabad, Women and Children Hospital Abbottabad, District Headquarters Hospital Haripur, Central Jail Haripur, Mansehra and Haripur police departments and old circuit house Mansehra are among the defaulters, who owe approximately Rs7 million to SNGPL.
Feroz said the civil administration, police, health and C&W departments are the main defaulters.
Responding to a question, he said that according to the rules a defaulter has to face disconnection of gas after two month of non-payment. However, since most of these are state departments, they often faced shortage of funds, due to which their dues kept accumulating.
He explained that most buildings, especially those occupied by civil and judicial administration, belonged to the C&W department, where officers are often transferred regularly. Most of the times these officers leave without paying their dues, he added.
He said he had taken up the issue with all the head of departments that had defaulted on their payments. He added that the C&W department had made it clear through a written letter that the collection of bills was not their responsibility and all outstanding bills should be collected from occupants of the buildings.
Meanwhile, Abbottabad DCO Zaheerul Islam Shah, when approached for comments, termed the figures as baseless, adding that he was regularly paying the bills from the first day of his posting. He, however, admitted that the commissioner’s house did have
some outstanding amount against SNGPL for the past several years.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2011.