The SNGPL has issued a new gas curtailment plan for CNG sector during Ramazan, according to which now CNG stations would remain open for nine hours, two days a week.

According to SNGPL officials, this new plan is to ensure smooth supply of natural gas to domestic consumers during sehr and iftar. In the previous schedule the CNG stations remained operational on Monday and Thursday for 24 hours. Now this 24 hours are reduced to nine hours on same days and this plan would be applicable to Lahore, Sheikhupura, Sahiwal, Multan, Gujranawala, Gujrat, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Bahawalpur.

According to sources, this new plan was devised in so much hurry by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources that even SNGPL staff was not aware of it till the office closing time on Monday.

According to SNGPL website, the plan has to be implemented from July 03 but the stations were communicated to stop CNG filling at 3pm on Monday.

According to the new plan, for Zone-1, industrial consumers, gas supply would be restored from June 27, 6 AM to June 29th, 6 AM. The Zone 1 comprises of Lahore, Sahiwal and Shiekhupura. In zone 2, which includes Faisalabad, Sargodha, Bahawalpur, Multan, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Islamabad and Rawalpindi, the gas supply would be restored from July 1st, 6 AM to July 3rd 6 AM. It was learnt that this new plan was devised in consultation with CNG association.

Interestingly, the association started a media campaign, after the decision and sent press releases to all media houses in opposition of this new plan. In the media campaign, CNG association termed this decision a conspiracy to finish the CNG sector.

It was learnt that ministry officials put forward a couple of suggestions to the CNG association but they opted for nine-hour CNG operations two days a week.

Motorists have rejected this new plan. It was like a shock for most of the motorists who went to CNG stations after their offices on Monday and found CNG outlets closed. “What is this, after every couple of days, there is a new plan, why doesn’t government completely ban CNG from the country”, an angry motorist Fayyaz Ahmed, at Murree Road filling station remarked while talking The Nation.

“In Ramazan most of the office timings are from 08 to 2 pm, we will go to office or will queue up to get CNG,” Khalil Murad, another motorist, said.

“The government has announced a couple of good policies for Ramadan, but this decision would overdo her all good efforts”, Jibran Malik, a motorist, said.

He was of the view that due to the new timings it would be impossible to get CNG and motorists would have to consume petrol in their cars, which would disturb budget of already over-burdened salaried class. Some motorists claimed that real culprit was the CNG association as with this new plan, their stations would be operational and they would earn too. They said in the twin cities most of the CNG stations have their own taxis and wagons. They also critiscised association for not facilitating general public by making separate queues for public transporters and private car owners.

The association had promised to introduce separate queues for general public and transporters.