Ban on CNG use in big vehicles reversed


ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Petroleum has declared a directive issued by the Prime Minister Secretariat’s as unworkable and withdrawn a ban on the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) in vehicles with engine capacity of over 1000cc.

The PM Secretariat’s directive issued on Tuesday to the petroleum ministry, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) and gas companies warned owners of CNG stations that sale of gas to large vehicles would entail a fine of Rs50,000 for first violation, Rs100,000 for second, Rs600,000 for third and suspension of CNG licence for one year in case of fourth violation.

The move was questioned by Ogra which sought a clarification from the petroleum minister whether the decision taken by the caretaker prime minister had the mandatory approval of the federal cabinet or its Economic Coordination Committee as required by the Ogra ordinance.

Ogra said that without such mandatory approval, the regulator could not implement the executive order of the government as clarified in the Supreme Court decision.

After the objections raised by Ogra, the petroleum ministry put the premier’s directive on hold till May 25 and sought opinion on the matter from the law ministry which said that prima facie the executive order appeared to be in violation of the fundamental rights of citizens under which a specific section of society could not be discriminated against.

The law ministry also said the imposition of fine or penalty on an individual or a section of society could be valid only if a legislation had been passed by parliament or a presidential ordinance was issued for a specific period. This was not the case in the CNG matter. Therefore, it said, the prime minister’s directive was not practical.

An official of the petroleum ministry said that on the basis of law ministry’s opinion and a recent Supreme Court decision in which all actions taken by the caretaker set-up, including transfer and posting of government officials, had been suspended, the ministry had written letters to Ogra and gas companies asking them not to implement the executive order of the Prime Minister’s Secretariat.

He said a copy of the letter, along with the law ministry’s opinion, had also been sent to the PM’s Secretariat.

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