ISLAMABAD – The government is considering on a plan to cut the powers of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA)’s Chairman and Members after it faces stiff resistance from the regulator in putting Rs 9 billion burden of gas theft to the poor gas consumers.

Sources said that a power Minister of the incumbent government was pressing the President and the Prime Minister to amend OGRA Ordinance delegating powers to the Federal government to fire Chairman and Members of OGRA whenever it is angered by the regulator. At present, Federal government is have to send a case to Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) to remove Chairman or Members of OGRA if they were found guilty of some misconduct or malpractices. But now Federal government wants to end the role of FPSC to fire chairman and OGRA members with immediate effect.

This move has been surfaced after government faced stiff opposition from OGRA to shift a Rs9 billion burden of gas stolen by the rich and the mighty to the poor and hard-pressed power consumers which cabinet has approved.The Federal cabinet in its meeting held on October 11 under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf principally approved to shift the burden of a whopping Rs9 billion on to poor gas consumers for gas theft and the non-recovery of the gas bills by the gas utilities.

The sources said Chairman OGRA Saeed Ahmed Khan had bitterly opposed the moving of the summary in the cabinet arguing that poor gas consumers should not be punished for gas theft and the inefficiency of recovery of bills at any cost but the powerful cabinet members paid no heed and principally approved the summery. OGRA had earlier rejected the petition of both the gas utilities seeking the payment owing to the blatant refusal by the regulator; the government adopted another way to get the approval of the summary seeking more fleecing of legitimate consumers, who regularly pay their gas bills on time.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) has already taken notice of the frequent increase in the price of gas and expressed annoyed over what it termed the practice of recovering pilferage and theft losses in the supply of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).The court in its hearing on October 18 also questioned why the consumers have to be burdened through tariff adjustments to cover up the follies of others.