Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Balochistan CM urges PPL, OGDC to change attitude

Saleem Shahid

Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch.

QUETTA: Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has urged the Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) and the Oil and Gas Development Corporation (OGDC) to “change their attitude to Balochistan” and “gain trust of its people by providing them jobs and playing their due role” in the development of social sector.

Presiding over a meeting held here on Tuesday to review installation of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) plants in all districts of Balochistan, he said “unfavourable” attitude of the companies to the people of Balochistan had created several problems.

The State Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Jam Kamal, Balochistan’s Chief Secretary Saifullah Chattah, Home Secretar y Akbar Hussain Durrani and officials of the SSGC attended the meeting.

Briefing the meeting, the officials said the SSGC was supplying gas to 14 districts of Balochistan. It has decided to provide gas to remaining districts through LPG plants.

“The company is replacing the 8-inch distribution pipeline with a 16-inch pipeline to resolve the issue of low gas pressure in Kalat and Mastung districts,” they said.

The SSGC officials also informed the meeting about security of gas pipelines, status of tenders about schemes related to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s plan to supply gas to Awaran district and laying of more gas pipelines in the port city of Gwadar.

The chief minister expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the OGDC and the PPL as far as Balochistan was concerned and said they had done nothing to resolve unemployment issue and bring a change in economic conditions of people of Balochistan.

“This attitude of the companies working in Balochistan has intensified sense of deprivation already prevailing among the people of the province,” Dr Baloch said.

He said gas produced by Sui played a vital role in development of the country and the province but the people of Sui and Dera Bugti districts were still deprived of gas, electricity, drinking water and health and education facilities.

He asked the authorities of Zarghoon Gas Field Company to provide jobs to the people of the area on priority bases.

He expressed anger over the ignoring of old areas of Gwadar in the process of laying gas pipelines and said instead pipelines had been installed in areas where no human settlement existed.

He also expressed concern over accumulation of gas dues and asked the SSGC to ensure recovery from the consumers.

The chief minister directed the authorities concerned to provide land for LPG plants and ensure security of gas installations.

State Minister Jam Kamal said the federal government was trying to develop Balochistan and provide jobs to the local people.

He assured the chief minister that local people would be recruited to provide security at Zarghoon Gas Field and they would also be given other jobs on priority basis.

He said old settlements of Gwadar would also be provided gas.

Jam Kamal said he would recommend to the federal government to establish a forum for better coordination between the Balochistan government and the OGDC and the PPL.

Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2015

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