SIALKOT - Because of having “no political influence”, 47,000 applicants have been on the tenterhooks for gas connections for the last three years across Sialkot district.

The applicants including Muhammad Iqbal, Khalid Mehmood, Bashir Ahmed, Rukhsana Bibi, Naseem Akhtar, Khalida Parveen, Nasir Mehmood, Maqsud Ahmed and Ghulam Rasul alleged that the SNGPL officials in Sialkot provide gas connection only for the politically influential applicants. They said that such persons were actually ruling the SNGPL office. However, they further said that the common public had to face difficulties to access to the senior SNGPL officials for the solution to their problems.

They said that they applied for gas connections several years ago but they had not yet been provided with even demand notices while, the applicants, having political approach and influence, find the way to get connections.

A Daska based consumer, Muhammad Iftikhar, said that he applied for gas a connection years ago but the gas connection in his name had been given to another person in his street and now he was wandering and had become a rolling-stone between the SNGPL offices in Daska, Sialkot and Gujranwala for rectification. He said that no one was ready to accept his responsibility for this official mistake.

Sakeena from Uggoki-said that she was visiting the office for the last one month, but she was still unable to reach the senior officials, as the agents were halting her way to the senior officials.

When contacted, Hafiz Muhammad Jawad, the in-charge sales of SNGPL office, said that the number of the applicants was growing day by day and the SNGPL office was unable to meet the growing demand of the people by exceeding the annual SNGPL capacity of issuing connections. He said that the SNGPL Sialkot had received 70,000 applications by now out of which the SNGPL has issued 23,000 connections in Sialkot district, however, 47,000 applicants were still pending in this regard.

To a question, he said that all the pending applications submitted to this office before the 2009 by the people of Sialkot district had been expired and the SNGPL office Sialkot officials had cancelled most of the old applications after an announcement. The number of cancelled applications was also in thousands. The majority of the affected applicants were of the view that the SNGPL officials were now telling them upon their visit to the office that their application had been cancelled. The applicants said that they were not informed prior to the cancellation.

The officials were of the view that these applications had been deposited to this office by the people from Sialkot district’s all the four Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial and Pasrur tehsils during a period of 10 to 15 years.

“If they want to get gas connection, they have to apply with their new applications and now the connections would be given to them upon their turn on merit and it may take years,” the officials concerned added. They said that now the SNGPL office was entertaining all those application that had been submitted in 2009. “The people who had submitted applications in 2010 and onwards will have to wait for their turn. The office is already overloaded and doing a lot against its capacity to entertain the maximum applications,” added the officials. He denied all the allegations leveled by the people, saying that the gas connections were being issued purely on merit.