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Growing gripes in Lahore about heating gas shortages

Internews Report

LAHORE: Complaints by domestic consumers in Pakistan’s second largest city Lahore about extremely low-gas pressure that make heating of homes in the freezing winter have increased after the rain spell sweeping the country.

Consumers have already been facing shortage of gas for the last two weeks or so. Residents of different localities in Lahore have complained that they are not receiving gas supply for hours while some others speak about low pressure.

People according to their affordability level are using LPG [liquid petroleum gas] or electric heaters while others have no option except to buy food from restaurants and hotels. However, state gas giant SNGPL officials say the demand and supply gap increased owing to weather conditions.

Areas where the gas shortage persists are Walled City, Faisal Town, Township, Badami Bagh, Gulshan-i-Ravi, Multan Road, Shalimar, Harbanspura, Manawan, Batapur and others.

Suspension of gas supply to a good number of hotels and bakery ovens has also forced the owners to use timber and coal. A long queue of people is seen outside public ovens and hotels for purchasing food items.

“Gas has not been available between 6am and 10pm for the last 10 days or so, badly affecting our daily life. We have been using LPG as an alternative,” Tabassum Maqbool of Sidduquepura, Badami Bagh said here Friday.

Blaming the SNGPL for causing inconvenience to the people, he said residents of adjacent localities of Data Nagar and Hanif Park of Badami Bagh were also complaining of non-availability of gas. “Tiny flames appear for one to two minutes and then disappear.”

“There has been no gas in our house for the last two weeks or so and we are living in a miserable condition,” said housewife Humaira Qamar of Poonch House Staff Colony Multan Road adding that the SNGPL had failed to provide gas to domestic customers. She said she was using an electric heater for cooking but power outages too aggravated their problems.

“I cannot buy food from hotels daily as I do not earn that much,” said Kamal of Harbanspura adding that the SNGPL should at least follow its gas availability schedule.

A senior SNGPL official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said against 900mmcfd per day commercial, industrial and domestic requirement of Lahore, the department was only receiving less than 350mmcfd gas. “The industrial and commercial need is 400mmcfd gas.” He said demand and supply gap had forced the department to violate even its own daily schedule for domestic consumers already advertised in the press.

He claimed that according to the schedule, uninterrupted gas was being provided to domestic consumers from 6am to 8:30am and from 6pm to 8:30pm but less supply from fields was depriving around 10 per cent domestic consumers of city’s tail-ends of the utility. He claimed that 90 per cent consumers were getting gas as per the schedule.

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