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323 illegal connections removed during anti-gas theft operation

ISLAMABAD:Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) has removed 323 illegal connections during ongoing crackdown and recovered Rs75.4 million from defaulters, the company said Monday.

The Regional Directorate of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) launched a massive crackdown on the elements involved in the theft of the scarce and precious commodity, which continues unabated.

During the ongoing anti-gas theft operations, the raiding teams so far unearthed more than 323 illegal connections and recovered Rs75.4 million from defaulters.

Sharing details, Islamabad-Regional SNGPL General Manager Azhar Rashid Sheikh in an exclusive chat with APP informed the special teams not only identified but also removed more than 270 illegal meters and 53 direct connections and recovered millions of rupees from the defaulted consumers.

He vowed that the region-wide crackdown against the gas pilferage would continue till knocking down all the elements involved in illegal tapping, causing loss to the national economy and depriving the consumers of gas, which was already in shortage due to the fast depletion in the country’s existing hydrocarbon reserves and high-price in the international market.

Accordingly, he said a massive operation to curb gas theft, recover dues, and remove illegal connections was in full swing across the Islamabad-region on directives of the federal government.

So far, he said raids had been conducted in various areas including Chattah Bakhtawar, Gungal, G-7, I-14, E-18 Islamabad, Bhara Kahu, Tarlai Wah Cantt, Fateh Jang, and Attock. “During the drive more than 270 illegal meters and 53 direct connections have been removed, FIRs (First Information Reports) have been lodged against 37 individuals.

Gas thieves have been penalized with over Rs90 million fines, and legal action has resulted in the recovery of Rs 75.4 million” he added. To get the required results, GM Azhar Rashid said the company had increased the number of raiding teams to gear up the ongoing operations against gas theft and make more recoveries from the defaulters.

Answering a question, he reiterated that stringent actions were being taken against employees involved in any unlawful activities as so far 25 to 30 individuals had been blacklisted, while legal proceedings were underway against 40 to 50 officials.

To another question, the GM said the company was committed to ensuring uninterrupted services to domestic consumers throughout the year.

He highlighted the challenges posed by dwindling gas reserves, with a decline of 9 to 10 percent annually. While gas demand in Islamabad and Rawalpindi Division stands at 100 MMCFD (million cubic feet per day), against which only 50 MMCFD is currently available with the company, he added.