Punjab Civil Secretariat gassed out! | Pakistan Today

Punjab Civil Secretariat gassed out!

No tea or coffee was served to a majority of officers in the Punjab Civil Secretariat on Thursday, as gas supply to the secretariat was cut off over non-payment of outstanding dues, Pakistan Today has learnt. The gas supply to the civil secretariat, the seat of the provincial government, was disconnected when the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was staging a sin-in in front of the Presidency against power outages in the province and was considered as the federal government’s rejoinder to the PML-N-led Punjab government. “There may be outstanding dues and the government should pay them, but cutting off gas supply of the seat of the provincial government should have been avoided by the federal government and can result into another tussle,” a senior government official, seeking anonymity said.
But the disconnection brought to surface the “circular debt policy” being employed by provincial finance managers. According to details, outstanding gas dues of Rs 11 million were pending since May while the provincial government was able to deposit only Rs 2.2 million so far. Sources in the government said Rs 9.7 million were paid last year for gas dues while this year the finance department released only Rs 2.2 million against the outstanding amount. They said no one was paying attention to the liabilities, as finance managers were running the matters employing the “circular debt policy”.
“The finance department has released only 40 percent of the budget while 80 percent of that amount has been spent on clearing the liabilities of fiscal year 2010-11. The cycle has been in place for the last 20 years and this needs to be changed,” they said. Another senior government official said the buildings department was equally responsible for the current crisis, along with the “unscrupulous” use of gas in offices by lower staff. “It is the negligence of the buildings department which has left so many leakages unchecked. They dig for renovation purposes and then leave the work unfinished, causing the pipes to burst and gas to leak. Moreover, in many offices the lower staff leave the stove burning causing wastage of such a precious resource,” the official added.
Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) Lahore GM Abdul Haseeb “plainly” refused to resume the gas supply to the civil secretariat unless the government deposits at least 40 percent of the outstanding amount.



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