ISLAMABAD : Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday advised President to accord assent to the Gas (Theft, Control and Recovery) Bill 2016 passed on Monday last by the joint sitting of the Parliament.

The bill moved in the joint sitting of the Parliament was moved by Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbassi to control the growing theft of natural gas with no stringent laws to control it.

Now with the enactment of this new law the person involved in gas theft could be imprisoned up to 10 years and fine up to Rs. one million.

Under the bill, gas utility courts would be set up at district level to try offences punishable under the law. The gas utility courts and the gas utility companies will be entitled to seek services and assistance of police or security forces for the purpose.

According to the bill, domestic consumers who are found guilty of tampering the meters or performing any other act to steal gas would be punished up to six months of imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 100,000.

The industrial or commercial consumers on gas meter tampering or gas theft would be punished with up to 10 years rigorous imprisonment and fine up to Rs five million. For damaging and destructing the transmission or transportation line to disrupt the supply of gas, a sentence of up to 14 years imprisonment and a fine of Rs one million could be awarded under the bill. The corporate bodies, which commit any offence, would be punishable with a fine up to Rs five million and in case of continuing default a daily fine up to Rs one lakh.