ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday maintained the stay order for restoration of CNG supply to the filling stations of Potohar region.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui held the hearing and deferred the hearing till January 3 for further proceedings.

In this connection, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) has also filed a review application before the court of Justice Siddiqui and contended that they were facing hardships to provide natural gas to the domestic and commercial consumers at full pressure due to the high court’s stay orders against the indefinite closure of CNG sector.

During the hearing of this petition, Justice Siddiqui remarked why the government authorities had not considered the shortage of gas when they were issuing licences for establishment of CNG gas stations.

 The petitioner prayed to the court to vacate stay orders of December 20, where the court through an interim order had restored supply of the gas as per previous schedule of three days a week. It adopted that there is acute low pressure of natural gas in the twin cities due to the stay order.

The SNGPL had filed this review application through Hafiz Ullah Yaqoob Advocate on December 24 that was taken up on Monday. The counsel argued before the court that the domestic and commercial users were the priority of the gas distribution company.

“Court’s stay order has caused great inconvenience to the SNGPL as the domestic and commercial consumers were suffering badly. In winter season the pressure of gas is very low,” he added. The counsel further argued that the domestic consumers facing acute shortage of gas and they would stage protests and it would also create law and order situation for the administration.

Referring to the gas load management policy of 2005, the counsel said that domestic and commercial sector is the SNGPL’s first priority, power sector second, industrial and fertilizer third, cement sector and captive power fourth and the CNG sector is on fifth among the priorities of the government.

The counsel contended that the decision for not supplying gas to CNG sector was a day-to-day administrative affair and could not be challenged through a petition. He produced statistics before the court. As per these statistics the gas distribution company is getting 1.6 billion cubic feet gas per day (bcfd) per day against total requirement of 2.8 bcfd. The total consumption of domestic consumers of twin cities is 100 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) in summer season. During winter season it increases to 280 mmcfd.

The statistics suggests that total requirement of domestic consumers along with CNG sector is 400 mmcfd while SNGPL is receiving only 220 mmcfd gas supply. Gas Distribution Company contended that it was due to the shortage of the gas that the domestic consumers had been facing problems.

It is pertinent to mention here that previously Justice Siddiqui had restored gas supply through an interim order on December 20 after 77 CNG stations had contended that it would be an economic murder of the people related to this sector.