CNG stations: OGRA allows relocation despite opposition

Regulatory body accused of taking bribes to allow change of site.


Zafar Bhutta August 27, 2011

ISLAMABAD:


The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) ignored expert opinion while allowing the relocation of CNG station sites despite the government’s ban, The Express Tribune learned on Saturday.


Earlier, the Cabinet Division had sent Ogra Chairman Tauqeer Sadiq on forced leave for three months while the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) conducted an enquiry against him regarding the controversial relocation of CNG station sites.

According to the documents available with The Express Tribune, Ogra had sought expert opinion from its former vice chairman Rashid Farooq about the relocation of CNG station sites despite the official ban.

Farooq had said that the change of sites for those provisional CNG licence holders who failed to obtain various no-objection certificates (NOCs) while their provisional licences were valid should not be issued permanent licences. He said that his suggestion was in view of the prime minister’s decision of March 18, 2008, banning new CNG licences.

Farooq said that there would be hundreds of provisional licensees who would not have completed the formalities for setting up CNG stations. Therefore, he said, they could revive their cases under the resitement/change of site proposal.

Farooq said that para 2 (i) of the policy envisaged by the Prime Minister Secretariat said that no new licence could be issued which required an investor to obtain various NOCs. The change of site would practically mean the issuance of a fresh licence, enabling an investor to apply for various NOCs for the new site, he said.

He said that this would be contradictory to the policy approved by the prime minister, as all those provisional licensees who had not been able to make any progress in setting up their CNG stations would get to ask for similar dispensation. This would practically lift the ban on new CNG licences, as Ogra had already issued almost 4,000 provisional licences before the ban was imposed, he said.

During the meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Petroleum held on July 29, some parliamentarians had accused Ogra officials of taking bribes of up to Rs5 million in each CNG station site relocation case.





Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.

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