ISLAMABAD - Unsatisfied with the removal of managing director of SNGPL, Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the petroleum minister to expedite the inquiry into the recent inflated gas billing and take action against all those responsible.

The Prime Minister issued these directives in a meeting with Federal Minister for Petroleum, Ghulam Sarwar Khan.

During the meeting, the minister apprised the Prime Minister of the steps that have already been taken regarding inflated gas bills including initiating the process of returning excess amounts back to the consumers, said a spokesman of the Petroleum Division here Thursday.

The Prime Minister was apprised about the removal of MD Sui Northern. The government Wednesday removed Managing Director Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) for sending inflated gas bills to consumers.

The Petroleum Division had asked SNGPL to refund extra amount to gas consumers and take action against all those who had overcharged the consumers by applying fraudulent gas pressure factor. Following directives, the SNGPL board removed acting MD Amir Tufail from his post and appointed Mahmood Ahmad Zia as an MD.

Both Petroleum Division and SNGPL were equally responsible for inflated gas bills but the Petroleum Division took action against SNGPL only trying to save the skin of its own officials involved in gas slab determination, said an official of the Petroleum Division.

There were two reasons behind inflated bills and these included introduction of new slabs and extra pressure factor.

For excessive pressure, the government removed MD SNGPL, however, the ministry officials were spared and no action was taken against them over introduction of seven slabs. Neither the Petroleum Division (Directorate General Gas) nor the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) had any role in determination or working out tariff slabs of the gas prices for the consumers, said official sources. The seven slabs and high gas prices were not worked out by the DG gas instead it was done by the Directorate General Petroleum Concessions. However, no action was initiated against the officials of the DGPC involved in introduction of seven slab mechanism.

The spokesman said that the Prime Minister directed the Petroleum Minister to expedite the inquiry into the recent gas over billing and hold those responsible to account. The minister assured the Prime Minister that affected consumers will be returned their amounts in full. A complete verification of all cases would be undertaken till 30th June and their amounts will be returned to them. Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that all those found guilty would be awarded exemplary punishment.