RAWALPINDI: With most people living in the city relying on alternate fuel sources due to low natural gas pressure, dealers of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), coal and wood have raised their prices to cash in on the situation.
LPG costs Rs160 per kilogram, but most stores are charging Rs180. Coal, which was previously being sold at Rs70 per kg, is now being sold for Rs90 and the price of wood has risen from Rs120 to Rs160 per kg.
The rise in prices of alternate fuel sources has also led to an increase in charges for catering services and at tandoors.
Residents have turned to other fuel sources amid low natural gas pressure in Rawalpindi
Mohammad Qamar, the owner of a catering service in Landa Bazaar near Committee Chowk, said they used to cook on gas stoves but the low gas pressure forced them to turn to wood, as LPG cylinders cannot be used to cook food in large pots and pans.
“We are left with no choice but to increase our charges, as we cook food for weddings using firewood,” he said.
Dhoke Ratta resident Nasir Mir said they had been facing low gas pressure for the last month, and gas had not been available in the locality for the last week.
The government has failed to resolve this issue, he said. “In the last tenure of the PML-N government, a main line was laid for Rawalpindi city last year to overcome the low pressure but the new government has failed to connect it to local residential areas,” he said.
Asif Akbar, the vice chairman of Khayaban-i-Sir Syed, said people have been facing a gas shortage for the last month while the government looks the other way. He said elderly people and children in particular are suffering.
“Due to the freezing weather, most people in the area suffer from seasonal diseases as they have no gas to warm their homes. LPG dealers will cylinders with substandard gas and black smoke is emitted from stoves, so people use coal and wood,” he added.
The price ofrotisold by tandoors has also increased, Mohammad Faisal from Dhoke Khabba said. “The price ofrotiis Rs8, but the tandoorwalas sell it for Rs10 claiming that they are preparing the bread on LPG cyliners,” he said.
The low gas pressure has affected routine life badly, Mr Faisal said, adding that people are spending their weekly holidays collecting alternate fuel sources and are eating cold meals.
A senior Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) official toldDawnthe company did not increase gas pressure as the main line was damaged at various points on Murree Road and I.J. Principal Road.
“If the pressure is increased, natural gas will be wasted through the leaking points. The SNGPL is currently buying gas from the fields and providing it to consumers, and gas leaks will put an extra burden on the company,” he said.
At a meeting with MNAs and MPAs from Rawalpindi division on Saturday, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Ghulam Sarwar Khan said the low gas pressure would be resolved on the basis of priority in Rawalpindi.
The meeting at Punjab House was also attended by officers from the SNGPL, including Rawalpindi General Manager Zahoor Mohammad who said gas will be provided to all Rawalpindi areas.