For the past many years, every winter domestic consumers have been experiencing erratic supply of gas in Karachi and other parts of the country due to diversion of supply to colder areas. With the onset of the cold season, most localities in Karachi have been confronting the problem of gas outage. Unannounced and unscheduled outages occur several times in 24 hours taking consumers unawares. This is making it very difficult to prepare meals. Families have to order food from restaurants, and those who cannot afford this go to work with empty stomachs. This includes men, women and school-going children. After coming back from work, many have to buy dinners from outside.
The undependable gas supply has compelled people to buy expensive LPG cylinders adding to their financial burden in these times of high prices. LPG is selling for Rs220 a kg, a price beyond the reach of a vast majority of domestic consumers. The reported closure of CNG pumps two days in a week has not eased the problem for domestic consumers. While a vast majority of consumers are suffering due to gas outages, there are people who are using geysers to warm water even though temperature has not fallen to the level where geysers have become essential. The use of geysers should altogether be stopped or drastically reduced considering the difficulties of others. People should realise their social responsibility by cutting the consumption of gas to the minimum possible. The affluent have, however, several alternatives. Those who have the capacity to pay fat power bills have switched to electricity for cooking purposes because of unending cuts in gas supply.
Like several years in the recent past, the government is not coming out with a satisfactory explanation about the availability of gas. Also, there is the serious issue of safety. Gas explosions caused by leaking pipelines have left several persons dead and injured in Karachi this year. The issue of gas shortage has not cropped up suddenly, as experts had warned much beforehand that the country could face a gas crisis.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2021.