A gas pipeline project making no headway; frequent increase in power tariffs; failure to tap indigenous energy resources like Thar coal reserves; gas and electricity import projects lying in cold storage; and last but not the least, Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf with his soap-box oratories - all have become the hallmark of the government's energy policy. The Kalabagh dam project, which can generate enough electricity to meet our needs, remains shelved, though its feasibility in all respects has been established beyond any doubt. Now, the government is further jacking up the prices of CNG and electricity. The consumers who have been the victims of gas and electricity loadshedding have no other option but to cough up this additional increase. This bears testimony to the ill-conceived ways things are being handled. Rather than bridging the demand and supply gap, all that has been done is to raise the prices every month thanks to the IMF conditionalities. This clumsiness is going to cost us a lot because estimates are that in the next year the gas shortage would assume horrific proportions. Figures released by the Petroleum Ministry shows that the gas shortfall which now stands at one BCFD would go up to 2.1 BCFD next year. Already, there has been a considerable amount of dithering on the Iranian gas pipeline. Given the previous regime's criminal neglect of the energy needs, the PPP-led set-up should have tackled the crisis head-on. It is a pity that the US anxiety on the project aimed at isolating Iran has been allowed to take precedence over our national interests. The concerned government quarters should see the Petroleum Ministry's warning as the writing on the wall. It would have to gird up its loins to meet the rising energy demands. The exceedingly long vehicle queues at CNG outlets shows the depth of the crisis. The consumers have suffered a lot. This power hike mechanism is simply unacceptable because it amounts to snatching food from people's mouths.