ISLAMABAD - National gas distribution companies Sui Northern Gas Company Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) have fleeced poor consumers by overcharging them to adjust arrears of employees reinstated as result of Presidential Ordinance 2010. Natural gas consumers of the country are bearing the brunt of restoration of those employees reinstated through Presidential Ordinance in 2010 by paying massive taxes worth billions of rupees for the salaries and other facilities, reliable sources said. It was learnt that both utilities secretly got approval from the regulator and collected Rs 6 billions from the pockets of poor consumers in a bid to cover and protect the political mileage for the incumbent government. More than four thousand sacked employees of both SNGPL and SSGCL were reinstated with all allowances and other facilities after the promulgation of an Ordinance called the Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Ordinance 2010 to provide relief to persons in corporation service or autonomous or semi-autonomous bodies or in Government service who were dismissed, removed or terminated from service. Both utilities will collect arrears worth billions of rupees of eleven year's in an apparent bid to pay the salaries and arrears of its sacked employees, sources said. Gas distribution companies have secretly collected Rs 6 billion from the over burdened consumers in two years, sources privy to the development revealed, adding that SNGPL and SSGCL instead of paying outstanding dues from their respective profits have been preferring to secretly snatch billions annually from consumers. Available documents with TheNation revealed that sacked employees reinstated in January 2010 by the PPP-led coalition government and both utilities despite paying their eleven years pending outstanding salaries and arrears from respective profits secretly resolved to collect this hefty amount from consumers even currently both have sought increase in tariff from Ogra. SSGCL has collected a heavy amount worth Rs 4 billion and will also collect Rs830 million during current year. Similarly, SNGPL has collected Rs 1 billion from the consumers and will also collect more Rs 250 million from consumers and it has sought increase in tariff from Ogra to be collected by the end consumers thus adding woes and miseries of poor consumers. It is worth mentioning here that the incumbent federal government has reinstated 614 employees of SNGPL and around 2,200 employees of SSGCL in the year 2010 while 1050 employees of SSGCL were reinstated in 2009 after the decision of the Sc. Earlier, the SNGPL had asked Ogra to increase gas rates so that it could raise additional Rs235m based on the current figures of reinstated staff, but its plea was rejected, sources said. Financial wizards have argued that it is an irrational as well as criminal move of both utilities as unfortunate consumers have been facing sky rocketing prices of POL products and electricity bills. They were of the view that why the consumers should bear the cost of those reinstated employees, as those appointments were thorough on political affiliation basis and were against the merit and transparency policy. Both utilities had ostensibly committed a crime by making the consumers subject of their irrational move and even still planning to grab billions from the pockets of consumers. as was done previously where poor consumers were subject of this massive lootings though over burdened consumers will have to dig deeper into their pockets to meet both ends. They further advised the concerned quarters to initiate a serious and strict probe against this scandal where ill-fated consumers have to bear the brunt of departmental inefficiencies and flaws. The President has promulgated an Ordinance to provide relief to persons in corporations, autonomous bodies or in government service who were appointed during the period November 1, 1993 to November 30, 1996 (both days inclusive) and dismissed, removed or terminated or given forced golden handshake during the period November 1, 1996 to December 31, 1998 (both days inclusive). About 7700 employees of different departments, including PIA, SSGC, SNGPL, IB, FBR and ZTBL, are being reinstated in accordance with presidential ordinance. Additionally, former Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin on 15 September 2009 assured the Senate Committee on Rules of Procedures and Privileges that they would release funds for payment of salaries and other dues for reinstated workers within 48 hours.