Around 30,000 employees in the Potohar region, including Rawalpindi and Islamabad, and more than 200,000 working at different compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in Punjab are facing a hard life due to closure of CNG stations for last seven months, from October 2014.
The government had decided to shut down all compressed natural gas stations in Punjab from October 2014 due to gas crisis in the country in the winter season.
The government promised to reopen the stations on March 16, when weather becomes normal, but this promise could not be fulfilled.
Majority of CNG station owners are continuously converting their businesses into petrol pumps, while others are trying to sell their compressed natural gas stations,
rendering hundreds of people jobless.
‘The News’ learnt that majority of people once working in CNG stations have adopted some other businesses for earning their livelihood, while others are still unemployed and waiting for reopening of CNG stations.
The Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) General Manager, Muhammad Zahoor, in a statement to ‘The News’ had assured of reopening of all CNG stations from April 1, but, this proved to be mere a statement.
When the compressed natural gas was introduced, on government’s persuasion millions of people converted their vehicles to run them on CNG. Similarly, hundreds of people did investment in CNG business at that time. But, now all their investment has gone to drain, and the motorists are also facing financial burden.
All Pakistan CNG Association Supreme Council Chairman Ghayas Abdullah Piracha said that the government has completely destroyed our business and rendered millions of people working in this field unemployed.
Talking to ‘The News’ many unemployed people said that they are facing a hard life due to closure of compressed natural gas stations for seven months.
“Nobody came to ask us how we are leading our life for after closure of compressed natural gas stations,” they said.
Muhammad Banaras, who used to work at a CNG station at Satellite Town, said that he was earning Rs10,000 per month at the CNG station. But, now he is facing unemployment for the last seven months.
Dil Nawaz Khan, a former worker of a CNG station, said that he is waiting for the reopening of compressed natural gas stations to restart his job and earn a livelihood for his family.