LAHORE - Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL),with full backing of federal and provincial governments, has further intensified a crackdown on gas theft and recovery of billions of rupees outstanding especially dead arrears from chronic defaulters.

   Managing Director, SNGPL, Arif Hameed told APP here Sunday special raiding teams have so far detected 343 high profile gas theft cases mostly in commercial outlets involving millions of rupees pilferage.

He said that overall recovery stood at 96.4 percent while nearly 30 percent gas is pilfered. He made it clear and said that question did not arise at all that even a single cut off connection will be restored without payment of arrears.He said that now connections of defaulters are now being switched off.

He said that all Regional General Managers have been directed strictly to expedite the process of recovery of arrears and speed up the drive against gas theft on top priority without succumbing to any sort of pressure from any quarter and irrespective of their political affiliation.

Arif Hameed said that high level special raiding teams had also been specifically tasked with detecting gas theft to net the big fish irrespective of their social status.He said that special arrangements have also been made at regional level to issue clearance certificates to defaulters who have now cleared their all financial liabilities.

MD said that all RGMs have further been warned to make it sure that those found guilty of gas theft must be taken to task without any compromise.

On the other hand, he asked all gas consumers to clear their current bills and other outstanding bills especially dead arrears immediately otherwise strict action is also being taken against the defaulters.

Arif Hameed said that he is personally monitoring the overall performance  of all regions in terms of successful detection of gas theft and  recovery of bills. He said those showing excellent output will be rewarded and those showing poor performance will not be spared.

When contacted GM Islamabad Region Chaudhary Ejaz Ahmad said that “we have also net scores of big fish involved in gas theft in their big commercial outlets thus causing millions of rupees loss daily to national exchequer and operation clean up will continue till all such unscrupulous and disgruntled elements were flushed out and taken to task”.