Respite: CNG association calls off strike after setting up date with regulator

Will file petition listing down its demands with OGRA next week.

Will file petition listing down its demands with OGRA next week. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Sindh’s CNG filling stations would resume their “four days a week” sales operation from Saturday (today), calling off their strike after the regulator agreed to hear their grievances.

“We are scheduled to meet Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority’s (Ogra) chairperson on Tuesday (August 16),” said Ghiyas Paracha, former chairman of the All Pakistan CNG Association.

Office-bearers and members of the association are due to submit a petition to the OGRA chairperson in Karachi, seeking permission to set the fuel price themselves instead of the regulator while also making the sale in litres instead of kilogrammes.

As per the rules and regulations, the OGRA would then hold a public hearing after 15 days from the day of admission of the petition. “We will accept the authority’s verdict in letter and spirit whether it comes in our favour or not,” he said.

Salient points of petition

Other salient points of the petition include that the government, which has not allowed an increase in prices in the last three years, should provide legal cover to CNG stations to increase the rates to the extent that helps them cover the losses since 2013.

The association also wants the government to allow increase in CNG prices whenever prices of gas and electricity go up in the country.

The APCNGA also wants the government to end its policy of interrupted supply of gas to CNG stations in Sindh or withdraw the burden of subsidy the government is providing to domestic consumers and recovering subsidy amount from CNG fuel. “The government should either end load-shedding or charge us the industrial tariff [which is free from subsidy],” a source said.

It also wants the government to reduce the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess on gas for CNG stations to Rs100/mmbtu (million British Thermal Units) from Rs200/mmbtu.

The determination of CNG fuel prices should be based on the quality of gas, as the quality/strength of imported liquefied natural gas is better than the one produced locally. “CNG prices should be determined based on JVC [the gas quality/strength],” he said.

The government should keep a strong check on commercial transporters, as some of them use CNG cylinders for LPG fuel, which sometimes causes explosion and collateral damage.

Accepting the decision

Contrary to what Paracha said about accepting Ogra’s verdict, Abdul Sami Khan, another former chairman of the association, said that they would resort to a shutter-down strike if the regulator gives its decision against the demands of deregulating the CNG price and allowing them to sell the fuel in litres.

He questioned as to why the CNG stations in Sindh cannot determine prices themselves and sell in litre unit when Punjab-based ones were doing it for some time.

“Most dealers are selling CNG at Rs48/litre in Punjab,” he said.

“The price of CNG has gone up [by Rs6 per litre] because they were using imported liquefied natural gas, which is costlier than the local gas.

“Many CNG stations based in Punjab remain operational for seven days a week since they were being provided imported LNG mixed with local gas. On the contrary, Sindh’s CNG stations are being provided an interrupted supply of gas despite the province producing 70% of the total production in the country, he said.

Three-day load-shedding schedule

Meanwhile, Sui Southern Gas Company has announced that all CNG stations in Sindh province will remain closed from 8am for the next 24 hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The company has been announcing the weekly load-shedding schedule for quite a long time now. 

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