Court declares slow meter charges illegal in Balochistan
Syed Ali Shah: 

QUETTA: Balochistan High Court (BHC) on Thursday declared slow meter charges from gas consumers in the province as illegal. A division bench of the BHC  comprising Chief Justice Mr. Naeem Akhtar Afghan and Mr. Justice Abdul Hameed Baloch declared and canceled slow meter charges. “Don’t send slow meter charges to consumers”, the bench ordered the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC).
The bench passed this order on a petition filed by Senior lawyer Syed Nazeer Agha Advocate. “Slow meter charges is a violation of article 25 of the Constitution”, Mr. Agha Advocate told reporters after the court order.

Consumers have complained that the company should first ensure an uninterrupted gas supply and then send bills. Most of the people in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan have turned towards traditional stoves in the absence of gas supply.

The SSGC counsel fails to convince the court

The Sui Southern Gas Company (SAGC) counsel failed to convince the court about slow meter charges. Former Supreme Court Bar Association President Kamran Murtaza represented the company during the hearing. SSGC counsel pleaded that most of the consumers had tampered gas meters and the company had imposed the slow meter charges to overcome the deficit. The company had barred company officials not to remove gas meters without the presence of consumers. 

This decision has come a day after the General Manager SSGC Maddani Siddiqui revealed that over 1 lakh consumers were not paying gas bills across Balochistan. He also asserted that 80 percent of gas company meters have been tampered with in the province. “We are facing resistance in fixing the things here”, he said.

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Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.