Well-placed sources aware of the matter informed this scribe on Monday that after finding failure in completely depriving the masses of cheap fuel of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources (MPNR) has now resolved to end the price difference between petrol and CNG through a two-point strategy, which has been drafted to seek the approval of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet by the Ministry.
They said the ECC is likely to approve the MPNR summary in its upcoming meeting likely in next week because the MPNR from last two years had persistently been trying hard to prevent the masses from environment friendly fuel but so far no milestone achieved on the part of the Ministry.
It is also learnt that in case the summary got approval from the ECC then the per kilogram price of CNG would shoot up around Rs 23 per kg and the parity between petrol and CNG would shoot up to 80 per cent crossing the current 60 per cent of petrol’s price as parity resultantly the commodity would be made dearer and even out of common man’s approach.
Succumbing to the pressure of All Pakistan CNG Association, the MPNR earlier resolved to keep the price of CNG at 60 per cent of petrol’s price as parity, which now would be set at 80 per cent of petrol price if the ECC submits its nod on the summary.
Available summary of the MPNR disclosed to TheNation that the Ministry has decided to end the price difference gap between petrol and CNG in the country and in case of gas theft immediate cancellation of licence and complete closure of CNG stations has also been sought.
The MPNR through its recent summary wanted to make CNG so dearer that people refrain from using CNG in vehicles.
Recklessly pursuing money-minting motives at the cost of thousands of consumers, baboos to the MPNR on March 31st 2012 decided to further widen the price difference gap between petrol and CNG as a result to which the CNG price went up by Rs 11.57 per kilogram in the country.
However, the MPNR was found insisting that this measure could not bore required fruits as were desired prior to widen the price difference gap by 10 per cent between both the fuels.
Finding it imperative to put a ban on once robust the CNG industry, the MPNR in its summary has floated another proposal that in case of gas theft on the part of CNG stations immediate revocation of licences of the CNG station and complete closure of the CNG stations in the country has been sought in the said summary.
It is a matter of deep concern that in a bid to put a cap on once robust CNG industry the government had so far refused to renew licence of nearly 300 CNG stations and paving way for the closure of all CNG outlets in three years time, the Petroleum Ministry had earlier directed to ban CNG stations located in residential areas besides declining renewal to 15-year-old CNG stations.
When contacted with energy experts they have argued that it is quite horrific to believe a complete ban on the CNG industry, which pays heavy tariff and largest share of taxes over using gas.
They said surprisingly the six months sale of any one of a CNG station is equal to the one-day consumption of an industrial unit in the country.
“However, the MPNR has so far not bothered to take any action against the industrial units, which are allegedly involved in the gas theft. This double standard by the MPNR in public interest issue is not understandable and is also matter of deep concern for the public representatives in the Parliament House.”
The experts have also highlighted that around four million vehicles are running on CNG as a fuel and four crore people are enjoying the facility of domestic gas as a cheap fuel.
They were of the view that CNG sector is consuming only 7 per cent of total gas and there is no shortage of gas in the country.
The matter is of fair distribution of natural gas and of difference in the prices of gas for various sectors, which often caused artificial shortages, they said.
But the stubborn MPNR instead of taking strict measures against those who are allegedly involved in this heinous crime used to prefer making CNG sector as a scapegoat by putting all blames on it, they added.
Similarly, the government instead of doing anything to overcome the energy crisis had been found creating more and more problems for the general public with each passing day.
The CNG industry was set up in 1997 in Pakistan. It saw a massive boom due to high petroleum prices during the past decade and 3.5 million commercial and private vehicles were converted to CNG.