LAHORE: With the city temperature plunging to its lowest, various parts of Lahore, especially the tail-end areas, are facing either extremely low gas pressure or no gas these days.
The situation, persisting for quite some time now, is worsening by the day as intensity in the cold weather increases. On Monday, the city temperature plunged to 5 degrees, further necessitating the supply of gas. However, there are reports that many areas of the provincial capital have been without gas even at mealtime since the last few weeks despite commitment of the government to ensure gas supply to all parts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for cooking.
“For the last week or so, we have had no gas even during meal hours — 6am to 9am, 12pm to 2pm and 6pm to 9pm. Sometimes the supply is slightly restored for half an hour but it soon disappears,” deplores a resident of Sahoowari, a locality near Shalamar Hospital.
“This has forced us to purchase an LPG cylinder besides using an electric gas heater to cook food that is becoming very expensive for us,” he said, requesting authorities of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) to take notice of the situation.
Talking to Dawn, the residents of various localities complained that most of the affected areas consist of lower middle or poor classes that are being given less attention as compared to the posh localities.
“We live in Faisal Park near the Canal Road. Each year (during winters), we face such issues. But this winter is tougher than the last as we are either facing extremely low gas pressure or no gas,” says a consumer living in the locality. He adds that he and other locals have also complained to the SNGPL but to no avail.
The residents of Wali Park, Gulshan Park, Mehr Fayyaz Colony, Township, Makkah Colony (Gulberg), Saddar Bazaar (Cantt), Nishat Colony, Kotli Peer Abdul Rehman, Qila Gujjar Singh, Bahar Colony, Model Colony, Shah Kamal, Wahdat Road and others localities also reported similar issues related to gas supply.
“The locality we live in has a huge population of poor people mostly belonging to the working class. In such a situation (no gas or low pressure), most of them do not have even the capacity to buy expensive LPG or wood or the electricity for preparing food,” says a consumer of the Gulshan Park. He says the people who are already under severe financial stress due to skyrocketing prices, inflation and other issues, must be given priority in gas supply.
“We urge the government to take effective measures for smoothen gas supply to us,” he demands.
It merits mention that during the first week of the ongoing month, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) had submitted its report to PM office, pointing out a number of localities in Punjab, KP and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) having either no gas or low gas pressure during mealtimes.
The IB checked the areas and submitted its report to the PM who had tasked it with probing such issues. The Punjab part of the report identified 49 localities in the Lahore metropolitan city where gas was not available during mealtime. The report identified areas in other cities of Punjab as well which were facing low gas pressure or outages.
A source in the Ministry of Petroleum while requesting anonymity dispelled the impression, stating that the SNGPL is the company supply gas to domestic consumers with full pressure these days in all areas.
“There are issues in some tail-end areas of Lahore and some other parts of Punjab province that are being resolved through supply of LPG cylinders,” he claimed, adding that the people living in such areas should better procure LPG cylinders from the nearby sale points established by the SNGPL.
It may be mentioned that a couple of months ago, the company had also advised its entire commercial consumers using indigenous gas to sign contracts and switch over to RLNG by Oct 31. By the end of October, around 3,000 of the 23,000 consumers opted for the RLNG. Later, 3,000 more consumers entered into agreements after a team of the SNGPL visited the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Oct 31 and requested the business community to help it achieve the objective.
The LCCI also sought extension to the deadline till Nov 10 to convince the consumers to switch over to the RLNG. Later 4,000 more signed the contracts.