ISLAMABAD - As if heavy hike in power tariff and prices of petroleum products (POL) was not enough, the government, on finding its failure in bridging the gap of expected gas shortfall, is all set to give another jolt to the people by carrying long hours gas loadshedding in the upcoming winter. 

Shockingly, consumers of all categories except of domestic consumers would witness acute gas shortfall during upcoming December, January and February of this winter. Gas consumers of CNG sector, industrial and commercial would witness cut in gas supply as the incumbent regime has so far failed to bring imported gas to the country to meet the burgeoning demands of country. And, an acute gas crisis is so far estimated which would put the routine life at standstill besides intensifying unemployment when the winter would reach on its climax. 

Energy experts have further deplored that present government was following the track path of predecessor and apparently it had failed to import foreign gas to the country. As an immediate result of this failure is that it would lead to extreme power and gas load shedding expected to take a start from next month in the country when gas demands would be on its extreme.

At present the country is facing 700-to 800-mmcfd gas shortfall against the demand. Local gas production is 4bcfd while expected gas shortfall will remain around 2.5bcfd in extreme winter.

It is testimony of the fact that Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has many times hinted the possibility of cut in the gas supply to CNG stations, commercial and industrial units in Punjab and Sindh provinces during coming winter.  Also, to save the skin from severe criticism due to likely gas suspension in winter, Shahid has many times said that government was committed to ensure gas supply to domestic sector and in this regard all available resources would be utilised.

Official sources told that petroleum ministry would dispatch a summary to the federal cabinet’s economic coordination committee (ECC, seeking its approval prior to suspension of gas supply during above mentioned period of three long months. 

They also disclosed that owing to burgeoning gas shortfall, the petroleum ministry has sought a ban for two years over new gas development schemes for industrial, commercial, private housing schemes, multi storey buildings etc from Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. Following the orders of Supreme Court (SC), the Federal Investigating Agency (FIA) has completed its investigation on the matters of CNG connections and gas development schemes of previous government of PPP.

Meanwhile, the All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Monday made it clear that public transport vehicles with defective CNG installation would not get fuel from CNG outlets from November 6.

As per the issued directives of the government the CNG filling stations and transport vehicles disregarding the orders would face legal action including fines and shutdowns while CNG operators would be solely responsible for all the losses taking place due to any incident.

In a statement issued here on Monday chairman All Pakistan CNG association Ghiyas Paracha, said that the copies of the government orders have already been sent to all the CNG pumps and associations of transporters across the country so that they can comply.

He asked the transporters to get their vehicles inspected and maintained according to safety standards issued by the government’s certified workshops otherwise police and transport authorities would initiate action impounding vehicles and removing CNG kits.

Ghiyas Paracha asked the vehicle owners to secure fitness certificates lest it result in the closure of their business which will let loose a massive crisis across the country.

He maintained that few months back OGRA initiated a laudable move to ensure safety of masses in the public transport vehicles.

Subsequently, on September 26th all the stakeholders including OGRA, Transport Department, Explosives Department, HDIP, district administrations, traffic police, transporters and APCNGA agreed to follow the safety procedures.

The stakeholders also agreed on a deadline of November 6 to abide by the decisions taken at the meeting in letter and spirit, he said adding that the target date is to lapse soon.

Paracha warned that those CNG owners who continued to sell fuel to public transport vehicles lacking fitness certificates and gummed label on windscreens would themselves be responsible for any loss or action.

The leader of the CNG sector said that chances of incident increase during winter, as all the windows of transport vehicles are kept closed.