KARACHI: The Ministry of Petroleum, chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) and Deputy Commissioner Moro have been put on notice after a a petition seeking a stay in sealing CNG filling stations or suspension of their operating license for arbitrarily discontinuing sale of the fuel on prices notified on October 25.
On Wednesday, the Sindh High Court’s division bench, headed by the Chief Justice Mushir Alam, also issued notice to Deputy Attorney General to file comments of the respondents before next date of hearing.
On October 25, the apex court had declared the formula of linking compressed natural gas (CNG) price with oil prices as “illegal,” and directed OGRA to announce revised prices minus surcharges and cess as an “Eid gift.” The OGRA subsequently announced reduced prices for the fuel popular with small vehicle owners.
However, CNG stations opposed the newly announced prices and started unilaterally shutting down their fuel pumps as a sign of protest. Reacting to this, the government announced it would fine and even seal stations who shut down their stations unilaterally.
On Wednesday, Sachal CNG, a filling station located in Moro, decided to take matter to the Sindh High Court. The petitioner said that following directives of the Supreme Court, OGRA notified new rates of CNG per kilogram, reducing the previous price by Rs30.38 per kilogram.
In the subsequent days since then, OGRA officers along with local administration’s staff have been conducting raids at CNG filling stations to check whether commodity is being sold at the new prices or not. Many stations were sealed for not following the official price, while operating licenses of some stations were also being cancelled.
The petitioner contended that the profit on commodity’s sale had remarkably dropped after the new price had been notified in late October, therefore, it was becoming impossible for the owners to sell CNG on the new prices.
To back up his claim, the petitioner said recently he received a notice from OGRA, wherein the authority had threatened to either seal his filling station or cancel its license for not selling the CNG on new prices.
He argued that since the Supreme Court bench had determined new prices without hearing OGRA, therefore, the new rates could not be enforced till the court comes to a final settlement on the pricing formula.
Petitioner prayed to the court to restrain OGRA and local administration from taking any coercive action, including sealing of stations or cancelling licenses, till final disposal of the case in the apex court.
After preliminary hearing, SHC division bench issued a notice to Ministry of Petroleum, Chairman OGRA and Deputy Commissioner Moro. Deputy Attorney General was also put on notice to file comments of the respondents before next date of hearing that will be fixed later by the office.
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