Gas shortage sparks fresh protests in rural areas of capital

* Demonstrators block Lehtrar Road, ask authorities to change indifferent attitude towards people living in less-privileged areas
Gas shortage sparks fresh protests in rural areas of capital

ISLAMABAD: As the gas crisis has worsened across the country, angry consumers have starting hitting the roads, protesting against the authorities for not doing anything to control the situation. 
On Wednesday, hundreds of men, women and children in the rural locality of Alipur Farash blocked the Lehtrar Road on Wednesday afternoon to protest the gas shortage in their homes since the advent of the winter season.
The protesters refused to let a single vehicle pass during the protest, and the impasse was eventually resolved when Assistant Commission (Rural) Syed Bahadur Ali intervened and made a commitment to the protesting community, vowing to mediate between them and the general manager of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited.
Speaking on the occasion, Awami Workers Party Secretary General Aasim Sajjad said that it was the same region of rural Islamabad in which dictator Pervez Musharraf was residing in a so-called ‘sub-jail’ with unmatched facilities, yet gas and other basic utilities were denied to ordinary working people simply because they had no political clout.
He pointed out that Alipur Farash was the site of a resettlement scheme for the capital’s slums and that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) moved the residents of the area almost a decade ago with the promise that they would be provided basic facilities.
Local organiser Rukhsana Qazi said that the capital city was one the of richest and, simultaneously, the poorest places in the country, and that inequality in the region had increased rather than decreased over time. 
She said that the CDA was primarily responsible for the lack of development work in the area. She said that protests would increase if this callous attitude remained intact.
Meanwhile, residents of the posh sectors of the capital are reportedly enjoying uninterrupted supply of gas – a facility denied to the poor and members of the middle class, are left with no choice but to use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and logs to cook food.
According to details, gas is being supplied according to the schedule in the posh sectors of the federal capital, including the Diplomatic Enclave, Ministers Enclave, Parliament Lodges and MNAs Hostels. 
On the other hand, less-privileged consumers are facing low pressure and suspension of gas in most of the residential areas.
Residents of Sectors G6, 7, 8 and 9 have complained that children and elderly citizens were getting ill due to continuous suspension of gas in their areas, as residents could not keep their houses warm and boil water for consumption.
Citizens have demanded that the high authorities take notice of the situation and take immediate measures to end the discrimination being done in the provision of gas; otherwise they would be forced to hold protests.

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