Punjab, KP to face gas shortages till Tuesday

SIALKOT: Women demonstrating in protest against gas shortages for long hours.—INP

 

LAHORE: Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would continue to face a serious shortage of gas for at least one more day as the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) announced on Sunday that supply would be restored by Tuesday morning after repair of a boiler and a pipeline at the Sui plant which caught fire on Saturday.

The gas supply to the two provinces was suspended after the fire at the plant severely damaged a 16-inch-diameter pipeline.

The repair work was still under way on Sunday as the SNGPL failed to complete it during the day despite best efforts, according to sources.

A majority of the domestic consumers in Punjab and KP have been contending with low gas pressure with some areas in the two provinces doing without the fuel altogether.

“We request all our valuable consumers to ensure absolute minimum consumption of gas to avoid extreme low pressure. Please also adopt safety precautions before using gas appliances,” an SNGPL spokesman said.

He said the situation would return to normal as soon as officials concerned completed the repair work and 240MMCFD of gas was added to the system.

The spokesman said that in view of complaints lodged by some consumers, the utility had launched a “crackdown” against the consumers who were using compressors to extract more gas from the pipes.

“Action has already been taken against 30 consumers and their supply has been disconnected and gas meters removed,” the official said.

Meanwhile, the gas shortage led to protests in Lahore and in some other parts of Punjab and KP.

In Lahore, protests were mostly led by women who were facing severe problems in cooking food. They chanted slogans against the government and called for immediate restoration of supply to domestic consumers.

The crisis has forced people to buy bread at tandoors. Long queues were witnessed at tandoors and restaurants where people were buying bread and other food items.

“What can we do in a situation like this? The situation has persisted for the past several days, leaving no option for us but to buy food from markets,” said Naveed Ahmad, a resident of the Wapda town, Lahore.

He added that several of his neighbours had switched over to LPG for their fuel needs.

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