Karachi, like the rest of the country, is facing unprecedented inflation and trickling incomes, adding to the burden of the citizens. To make matters worse, residents of Karachi are now dealing with another challenge during Ramazan: gas supply cuts.
Gas load-shedding and shortages have become a major issue for Karachiites, with citizens expecting a severe cooking crisis during the holy month. Many people have reported complaints regarding gas shortages from different areas of the city.
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Gas Supply Cuts and Complaints from Residents
Saba Naveed, a resident of Lyari, shared her concerns with Dawn.com regarding the gas shortage. She stated that there has been no gas supply in her house for nearly four months now. Her stove emits only a stale smell with no gas pressure, forcing her family to permanently switch to using gas cylinders. However, a 2.5kg gas cylinder costs her Rs600, which only lasts for about two weeks. This situation puts her and her family, especially her three young children, at great risk.
Saba also reported that despite several calls and visits to the Karachi office of the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), the company has failed to help during the crisis. Moreover, the company still charges between Rs600 and Rs700 for the utility every month, even though the supply is poor.
Similarly, residents of Gulshan-i-Iqbal are facing a similar ordeal. Usman, 28, told Dawn.com that they only get gas for six hours a day. The time when gas is available is from 2 am to 4:30 am and 4 pm to 8 pm, leaving their stove cold throughout the day. He is already facing financial challenges as he has been jobless for over six months. He questioned the fairness of the complete amount of bills being charged when the gas supply is compromised.
Zohaib Ahmed, who lives in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Block 2, also shared his frustration with the gas shortage. He said there was no gas supply in his area, and they had been browsing for electric stoves on Daraz.
Karima Nayani, a resident of Garden, Saddar, and Clifton, expressed her concerns over the gas shortage. She said, “The government simply wants all of us to suffer.” She further added that not everyone can afford a microwave or electric kettle and stoves, making electricity and gas basic necessities. Depriving people of such basic necessities is unacceptable.
Gas Shortage in Upscale Areas of Karachi
Dawn.com received reports that gas was not available in several areas of the upscale Defence Housing Authority area, including Phase V, Phase I, Phase VI, and Phase VII. This situation has caused inconvenience and trouble for the residents who are already dealing with a tough financial situation.
SSGC’s Response to the Gas Shortage
SSGC spokesperson Safdar Khooharo told Dawn.com that the company had not resorted to load shedding anywhere in the country. However, he explained that certain areas may face low pressure partly because around 20 million to 20.5 million stoves take gas at the same time during sehri. This puts a burden on the old gas lines, leading to low gas pressure.
To ensure better gas pressure, the company has introduced gas profiling from 8 am to 2:30 pm during Ramazan. SSGC assured consumers that gas would be provided to them uninterrupted during sehar and iftar. However, the company stated that there is a shortfall in its system due to a yearly 8 per cent to 9 per cent decline in the country’s gas reserves.