ISLAMABAD - Beleaguered PPP-led ruling alliance is all set to boost LPG and petrol trade at the cost of CNG business in the country in connivance with influential cartel, ostensibly to drive hefty kickbacks, sources informed TheNation on Monday. 

Sources well aware of the matter informed TheNation that although LPG is more expensive compared to both CNG and petrol yet, Petroleum Minister Dr Asim having close relations with ‘LPG mafia’ is leaving no stone unturned to ensure such a dangerous and economically ‘unviable source as fuel for millions of vehicles in the country which would put people’s lives at extreme risk as LPG does not mix with the air after leakage. They told that earlier, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain had offered to set up LPG auto filling stations for the CNG industry even at existing sites as alternate means of business to safeguard their investment which, however, was later rebuffed by the CNG association. Around 40 million people of Pakistan are utilising CNG as a fuel in their vehicles.

According to the working of All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA), currently the price of LPG has touched Rs 175 per kg thus beating the previous record of making the product more expansive.

However, the price of CNG is Rs 74.30 per kg in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and the Potohar region, and Rs 69.62 per kg in Sindh and Punjab, after the recent price hike. Similarly, if compared to a petrol-run vehicle, which costs Rs 5.8 per kilometre on average, an LPG-run vehicle costs Rs 6.25 per kilometer. Chairman All-Pakistan CNG Association Ghyias Abdullah Paracha, when contacted, said they were offered to convert CNG stations into LPG. He said that the CNG industry has already invested billion of rupees and could not make further investments in setting up LPG stations. “The influential lobby is involved in LPG business and wants to ruin the CNG industry by replacing it with LPG as fuel in the auto sector,” Ghyias Abdullah Paracha alleged.

Critical shortages of gas and petrol has made lives of the people more miserable on Monday sparking sporadic violent protest in various parts of the country including the Federal Capital. Naturally, following the closure of CNG stations will prompt more imports thus would add extra burden on the consumers and national exchequer as well.

Following the complete closure of CNG stations due to an indefinite strike across the country, additional imports of 2,500 to 3,000 tons of petrol per day is required to meet the escalating demand as the continued severe gas and petrol crises has served as fuel to fire by adding to the woos of the consumers in the country. 

Currently, total monthly consumption of petrol is 250,000 tons, of which 100,000 tons are produced in the country and 150,000 tons are being imported. At present, petrol stocks can meet 16 days of requirement as per storage capacity. Beside this, Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) is providing 1,000 tons of gas per day for vehicles while Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) supplies 1,500 to 2,000 tons per day for the transport sector.