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ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved Rs747.539 million Technical Supplementary Grant (TSG) for undertaking supply of gas to 85 villages/localities in the current fiscal year.

The meeting presided over by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on a proposal of the Ministry of Energy for supply of gas to localities/villages in 5kms radius of gas producing fields for approval of TSG in favour of Petroleum Division for further releasing of funds to the SSGCL to undertake gas supply in villages/localities during the on-going fiscal year.

The meeting was informed that the ECC in 2020 approved Supplementary Grant of Rs1 billion in favour of the SSGCL to undertake the Phase-I of the project during financial year 2020-21.

The Finance Division surrendered an amount of Rs515.255 million which was accordingly released to the SSGCL. Against the release, the SSGCL has undertaken gasification of 75 villages during fiscal year 2021.

SSGCL to provide gas to over 137 villages this year

The meeting was further informed that for SSGCL’s requirement of Rs747 539 million during current fiscal year, the Petroleum Division approached the Finance Division as well as the Planning Division but it was advised to approach Cabinet Division to seek funds out of the portfolio of Sustainable Development Goals Achievement Program (SAP).

The Steering Committee of the SAP considered the matter in its meeting held on 9 December 2021 and sought details of the total fund’s requirement in case of the SSGCL and the SNGPL, which was accordingly provided on 10.12.2021.

The Cabinet Division has informed that matter of funds requirement would be placed before the Steering Committee in its meeting as and when it is held.

The meeting of the SAP Steering Committee was held on February 2022 and it was decided that the Planning Division would be requested to allocate funds for supply of gas to adages/localities falling within 5km radius of gas producing fields.

The meeting was informed that the Sindh High Court (SHC) has again taken up the case of gasification of villages localities within 5km radius of the gas fields in Sindh province and has directed appearance of Secretary Petroleum and Secretary Finance on March 14, 2022 as well as revived the show cause notice dated 02.11.2020 to explain as to why contempt of court should not be proceeded with for non-compliance of court orders.

While giving background, the ECC was informed about the directives of Supreme Court of 2013 as well as the CCI decision of 2017 and that the SHC in connected cases sought implementation of orders of the Supreme Court directives to the extent of gasification in the province of Sindh and passed an order in 2020 that the Petroleum Division to make available an amount of Rs4,912 million to the SSGCL, otherwise, Court would proceed with contempt proceedings against the Secretary Petroleum.

On 11.02.2020, the SHC issued show cause notice in respect of contempt of court and the Petroleum Division filed appeal in the SC against it. In the meantime, the SC on 05.03.2020 suspended the show cause notices to the Secretary Petroleum directing the SHC to review its decision after giving hearing to the parties.

Subsequently, the ECC approved in-principal the release of Rs4,912 million subject to submission of PC-1 by the SSGCL. However, the ECC in 2020 approved Supplementary Grant of Rs1 billion in favour of the SSGCL to undertake the Phase-I of the project during financial year 2020-21 of which Rs515.255 million was released to the SSGCL.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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