ISLAMABAD: Despite prevailing gas shortage across the country, the ruling PML-N government has decided to grant approval to 235 new gas supply schemes costing billion of rupees.
These schemes have been given go-ahead for parliamentarian constituencies mainly based in Punjab, reported Express Tribune.
A ministerial committee had suggested these schemes in various meeting held during 2017 and was a move to appease voters. This scheme was put for approval before the cabinet meeting which was held in 1st week of January.
Several hundred of schemes have been granted go-ahead for supply of gas to far-off villages, but domestic gas production has remained static since the last few years, as the govt ramped up efforts to increase LNG imports.
The federal government has been unable to auction hydrocarbon rich blocks to exploration companies, which would aide in ramping up domestic gas production.
Cabinet was apprised during 2017 over six meetings had been held by ministerial committee and gave go-ahead to over 104 gas schemes for which no government funding was needed. Aside them, over 36 schemes were being financed via Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) programme.
Furthermore; over 95 schemes were indicated which needed government financing depending on funds availability.
In April, the ministerial committee was created which constituted ministers of parliamentary affairs, planning and development, petroleum and finance with the duty of suggesting gas schemes for parliamentarian constituencies.
Over Rs15 billion funding was approved for the Petroleum division for execution of these gas schemes. An embargo placed on new gas connections during the previous PPP-led government was removed by the federal cabinet after six years due to dire shortage of gas.
After the removal of this embargo, the government gave go-ahead for 235 new gas supply schemes.