Quetta: (Tuesday, January 22) A large number of inhabitants of Hazara Town demonstrated and blocked roads in a peaceful protest against the low gas pressure in the area. These protests come only two days after the January 20 observance of Ashura.
The protesters chanted slogans and displayed placards against the concerned quarters of SSGC. They burnt tires and blocked the road for one hour. The protesters threatened they would expand protests if their demands are not met. Consistent low gas pressures and frequent gas outages have posed serious problems for the people, who are unable to cook and properly heat their homes during a flour shortage and a cold winter without precedent in recent years.
Meanwhile, a delegation of inhabitants of New Hazara Town, headed by our correspondent, Abbas, visited the SSGC headquarters yesterday (Monday, January 21) and met with the Managing Director of SSGC. The delegation submitted their complaint and demanded an immediate resolution of the issue. Mr.Haroon, the Managing Director of SSGC, assured the delegation that he would direct the concerned quarters to proceed with the reinforcement scheme of gas pipelines and find an immediate solution to the problem.
Parts of Quetta, especially Hazara Town, faced gas outages and low pressure in the winter last year too, when Baloch separatists, enraged at the killing of Akbar Bugti in an army raid, conducted a series of attacks against gas installations and facilities. This year, however, the shortage is said to be because of an increase in the population and a rise in demands for heating homes. The temperature has been touching outwards of -10 degrees Celsius, in a cold winter without precedent in recent years.
Frequent and continuous problems with issuing wrong bills containing incredibly high charges, ranging in thousands of rupees for a household meter, have been observed. For many, these issues have gone unresolved, and the customers have been observed to have had to pay the hefty sums of money.