CNG stations go on strike across Pakistan

10:58, December 31, 2009      

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All Pakistan CNG Association has announced strike against the gas load shedding and a possible hike in the gas price on Wednesday for unspecified period, said the president of the association.

The shortfall of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is another blow to the Pakistani government in the time when it is faced with so many crisis like militancy, power shortage and sugar deficit. Almost all the CNG stations remained closed across the country.

"The increase in CNG price will lead to the collapse of our industry," said Ghayas Piracha, President of All Pakistan CNG Association.

Piracha told Xinhua that the government had gone back on its commitment that the price of oil would be half that of CNG. "The government initially wanted to encourage CNG and invited investments in the sector," he said.

According to the CNG dealers, a total of 185 billion rupees (about 2.2 billion U.S. dollars) has been invested in the sector, including kits fitting and employments at CNG stations.

On the other side, an official of the petroleum ministry told Xinhua that despite warmer winter this year the gas shortfall had already reached 350mmcfd in the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines systems.

CNG dealers needed to understand that the country was facing gas shortfall and the ministry could not do anything. "It is also to be noted that if it rains the shortfall would reach up to one billion cubic feet per day," the official added.

All segments of public transport including, taxis, pick-ups and wagons have supported strike call by CNG dealers.

"From this strike the poor people is being affected the most. They have no business to do if they do not earn enough how can they support their families," said a 30-year-old taxi driver Muhammad Younas who is one of the affectees of the strike.

Pakistan has more than 3,000 CNG stations, with 2,500 of them located in the eastern province of Punjab. More than 2.5 million vehicles in Pakistan are running on CNG.

Source: Xinhua
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