Crackdown on gas thieves in Mehran Town | Pakistan Today

Crackdown on gas thieves in Mehran Town

The Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has embarked upon a massive disconnection operation against the illegal gas connections in its franchise area of the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, the utility said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Subsequently the Customer’s Relations Department’s anti theft team conducted surprised raids in Mehran Town, Korangi and disconnected more than 400 illegal gas connections. During the operation, thousands of metres of long plastic pipes were confiscated, which were being used in setting up unauthorised network for gas supply to the locality.
According to the details, the Customer’s Relations Department of SSGC was closely monitoring the gas theft and illegal sale of gas in various colonies and katchi abadis in Karachi and its suburbs.
According to the initial investigations, the agents of a powerful mafia in these areas directly connected a private supply network to SSGC’s main distribution pipelines and were offering illegal gas connections to the residents of these localities by charging between Rs 3,000 and 4,000 each. These culprits also charged a sum of Rs 500 from each unregistered consumer of gas on a monthly basis.
After establishing substantial evidence, SSGC teams conducted a successful raid in Mehran Town, Korangi that resulted in the removal of more than 400 illegal gas connections. The team members faced resistance from pipeline mafia in the locality. The mafia agents fired gunshots on the members of SSGC raiding teams and damaged one of the company’s vehicles.
The teams informed the unauthorised users of gas about the impending legal action, which will be taken against them by the utility under the relevant law.
 The SSGC’s authorities are now in the process of lodging proper FIRs against the culprits who were involved in establishing this illegal set up of gas distribution network in the area.
The company is now fully empowered to implement legal proceedings after introduction of ‘Criminal law (Amendment) Act’ from the parliament last November 2011.
 Under this amendment, a new chapter titled ‘Criminal law (Amendment) Act 2011’, has been incorporated in the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898. Some new articles have been introduced through this amendment, according to which the tampering, damaging the gas pipelines, installations and stealing or selling gas illegally would be a cognisable offence.  
Now both the state-owned transmission and distribution companies, ‘SSGC and SNGPL’ are empowered to take strict action against such miscreants. The articles # 462 (B), 462 (C), 462 (D), 462 (E) and 462 (F) allow both the utilities to register criminal cases against such miscreants. Under the new chapter the courts now can impose fines up to Rs 3 million and imprisonment up to 14 years or both.
 Azim Iqbal Siddiqui, the managing director of the SSGC, has issued strict directives to all the concerned officers and departments to control gas theft and line losses. The departments concerned have launched massive operational and media campaigns in different regions of Sindh and Balochistan against the culprits who are involved in stealing gas and also against all those customers who are not paying their dues on time.
 Before the Mehran Town operation, SSGC teams of Customer’s Relation Department had already raided KDA Flats in Surjani Town, Labour Square in Landhi, Rehri Goth in Korangi, Memon Goth in Malir, Hasan Phanwar Goth in Korangi, Ibrahim Hyderi in Korangi and Raja Tanveer Colony in Orangi Town and disconnected hundreds of illegal gas connection and also took possession of thousands of metres of long rubber and plastic pipes.

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