Free security sought for gas pipelines
By Shaukat Piracha
ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has asked Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali to provide free security for gas pipelines and other oil and gas installations in the country, official sources told Daily Times on Tuesday.
They said the ministry had been involved in a dispute with federal and provincial law enforcement agencies which were demanding payment for security. The ministry is also opposed to the permanent deployment of law enforcement personnel at the installations and has suggested security be deployed only at sensitive sites identified by the gas companies, sources added.
The ministry has also sought rationalisation and reduction in the claims forwarded by the agencies and has asked the government to pay the expenses involved, according to the sources. “The ministry is of the view that the security of the installations is the government’s responsibility. It should be undertaken by law enforcement agencies of the federal and provincial governments in the national interest, as and when required, on the request of the concerned oil and gas organisation or on information received by such agencies, without forcing the company to bear the cost,” sources said.
They said the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) had entered into an agreement with the Frontier Constabulary (FC) and agreed to pay for hired vehicles and fuel expenses. They said Rs 2.17 million was paid for the period from February 10 to April 9 this year. “The FC has now warned the SNGPL that it is not possible for the agency to continue its presence at the gas installations as the deployment violates the FC Ordinance and the owners of the hired vehicles have also issued notices to the FC for withdrawal of the vehicles after June 30, 2003. The FC has demanded payment of Rs 8.04 million for the services rendered by its troops from February 9 to June 9 despite the fact that they have already been paid more than Rs 2 million,” sources said.
The Pakistan Rangers are also demanding an amount of Rs 20.58 million for their services despite already receiving Rs 6 million. “A comparative study of monthly expenditure was prepared which indicated substantial variations in the claims of the two agencies for the same services,” sources said.