Rawalpindi - A large number of residents of Jhanda Chichi and surrounding areas staged a protest demonstration against natural gas loadshedding here on Airport Road on Monday.

Holding banners, placards and sticks, the protestors blocked the Airport Road for vehicular movement. They chanted slogans against the government and managing director Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL).

Jamshed Khan, a shopkeeper, while talking to media persons said that the residents had been facing low gas pressure for the last many days. “It has become difficult for us to warm our rooms in absence of gas,” he said, adding that he bought wood from a stall to cook food.

Amir Hussain, a government employee, said that the government and SNGPL had been observing unannounced and excessive gas loadshedding owing to which his family and other people of the area were facing troubles. He said that his three children were going school without having breakfast due to gas loadshedding, he said.

On the other hand, the owners of restaurants and ovens also complained of ruining of their businesses because of gas loadshedding. Gulzeb, an oven (tandoor) owner, said that sale of naans had decreased manifold due to non-availability of gas. “I buy woods at high rates but people don’t like bread baked on wood fire,” he said and demanded of the government to end loadshedding.

Tauqeer, a passenger who was scheduled to catch a flight at 2:00pm for Saudi Arabia, stuck in traffic and could not reach the airport in time. He said that he left his house at 11:00am for Benazir Bhutto Islamabad International Airport but stuck in gigantic traffic block caused by protest against gas loadshedding. He asked the government to end gas loadshedding.

The mess of locals protesting against zero gas pressure triggered a massive gridlock on Airport Road, Jhelum Road, Katcheri Chowk, Saddar, Gulzar-e-Quaid and many other small and big roads posing hardships for commuters. A number of passengers either missed their flights or reached very late at the airport owing to road blockage.