The ongoing gas crisis has crippled daily lives in Karachi to the point where residents have been forced to change their routines in accordance with the gas load shedding schedule.
Due to the lack of gas the populace of the booming metropolis is being compelled to take showers whenever possible, have meals at odd times, and change their sleeping schedule. Not doing so means that one has to rely entirely on cold water and increase the monthly budget to accommodate eating out.
“The gas load shedding has upended my routine. I have to wake up much earlier to make breakfast for my children,” complained Afsheen Shahid, a housewife based in Karachi. She further said that if she does not wake up earlier then she has to order breakfast from a local hotel, which adversely impacts her monthly budget. Similarly, Tabassum Bibi, another local, said that 10 people live in her home, including 4 children, but only 2 people earn.
“All of us have had to drastically change our routines so that things like taking a shower or making food can be done when gas is available. Otherwise, we have to spend heavily on a liquified petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder.” The drastic change of routine is a reality for Uzma’s family as well. Uzma, a teacher by profession and long-term resident of the city, while talking to the Express Tribune, said that she has to wake up early to cook breakfast, eat lunch later in the afternoon, and cook dinner by 6 in the evening.
“If I wake up late some days, then we have to use a LPG cylinder or get food from a restaurant. Both of these options dent our monthly budget significantly,” Uzma lamented. She further said that her whole family was really fond of tea at night time and it was a family activity they looked forward to. “However, we can no longer sit down together in the living room and enjoy our tea because of the gas crisis.”
It is pertinent to mention that the Express Tribune contacted officials of the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) to inquire about how long would Karachi’s populace be engulfed in the crisis. “Load-shedding is taking place as per the gas management plan. We urge citizens to use gas carefully,” replied an official. However, Aamir Uddin, a long-term resident of the city, said that there was no fixed time for the load-shedding. “Even when gas is available, the pressure is rather low. Consequently, we are forced to rely on LPG cylinders or eat at the local hotel. This has increased our monthly expenditure by Rs 5,000,” he remarked.
Aamir further said that the SSGC was misleading everyone about the gas load shedding and hoteliers were taking advantage of the crisis. On the other hand, a local restaurant owner, Asif, was of the view that hotel owners were not taking advantage of customers but were similarly stressed because of the gas crisis. “We have to run everything on LPG cylinders. A 45 kilogram cylinder costs upwards of Rs 9,000. Therefore, we have had to increase the price of rotis and parathas by Rs 10. Whereas, the price for tea has gone up by Rs 5,” informed Asif while talking to The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2023.
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