KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed on Wednesday the ministry of petroleum and the Sui Southern Gas Supply Company (SSGC) to file comments on a petition against the closure of CNG stations in the province for three days every week.
A division bench, headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, gave this direction while hearing a petition filed by over 600 CNG stations owners against the suspension of fuel for three days every week.
The petitioners claimed the province produced 70 per cent of the natural gas for the country but consumed only 30 per cent. The gas stations' consumption was not as significant compared to other sectors. They argued that the shutdown disregarded the natural gas allocation and management policy of 2005. This was also a violation of the court's earlier direction to the respondents to ensure uninterrupted gas supply to the petitioners.
The court was informed that the CNG sector, ranking fourth in the natural gas policy, was brought to a halt three times a week whereas the captive power sector, placed in fifth position, was shut down for only a day. Advocate Makhdoom Ali Khan argued that the petitioners had a right to receive uninterrupted gas supply in accordance with Article 158 of the Constitution, hence the shutdown was unjustified. Sindh is not responsible for the country's gas shortage caused due to mismanagement and lack of efforts to control gas theft, he added.
A direction was sought for the SSGC to supply gas to CNG stations and issue closure notices in accordance with the Constitution as well as the natural gas policy.
During Wednesday's proceedings, the lawyers representing the ministry of petroleum and natural resources and the SSGC sought copies of the plea and time to file their comments, respectively.
Allowing the request, the judges directed them to file such comments by April 17.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2015.
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