ISLAMABAD - Owing to the shortage of natural gas, the government is seriously contemplating increasing the price of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) during upcoming days of winter in order to reduce its demand, it is learnt reliably. Sources told TheNation that the government was actively considering the option to enhance the prices of CNG, which would decrease its demand. The sources further stated that when its(CNG) prices would go near to the prices of petrol that would compel the consumers to go for usage of petrol. Expected gas shortage during winter is one of the main reasons behind this decision. It may be mentioned here that the government has already warned of gas load shedding in the winter and there is also a proposal to shut down the CNG stations for the next three months. By doing this there would be a proper supply of gas to the domestic and industrial users in the cold season. However, due to more demand for CNG, the government is not in a position to shut down the CNG stations and considering to increase its prices. The sources further said that this is not decided yet that how much the prices would increase, as this would be finalised after detailed discussion with the relevant ministries. Presently the prices of CNG are Rs. 50 per kg while petrol is being sold at around Rs. 65 per litre and if the price of CNG increases, people would use petrol instead of gas. On the other hand the government is also planning to increase the prices of electricity from the next month (October) which might also force the owners of CNG stations to increase their prices as this would increase the costs for them. Tariq Kundan, Founder chairman of All Pakistan CNG Association, when contacted for comment, stated that if the government closed the CNG stations for three months he challenged that only after six days they would demand of the CNG owners to open these station because of the public demand. There are more than Rs 142 billion investments in CNG sector and majority of people has fitted CNG kits in their vehicles. How could they (government) close these stations? he asked. He said that the CNG has replaced 1.58 million ton petrol in the country. He said if the government closed CNG stations or increased its prices to curtail its demand then they would import 1.58 million ton petrol to overcome the said shortage by spending foreign reserves. He asked why the government could not find new sources of natural gas as every year they complete the gas shortage by starting long hours of load shedding.