Gas price hike blamed on smuggling

KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): The smuggling of liquefied gas to Pakistan has resulted in increased prices of the commodity in southern Kandahar province, dealers alleged on Thursday.

They said people could not afford buying gas due to its high rate, urging the government to prevent smuggling of gas to the energy-deficient neighbouring country.

A gas dealer in Kandahar City’s Herat Bazaar, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the price of one kilogram of gas had shot up from 45 and 50 afghanis a month back to 70 and 75 afs today.

He said gas rate usually increased in winter due to the increase in its use but the current hike stemmed from unchecked smuggling to Pakistan.

He warned if the smuggling was not prevented, it would trigger acute shortage and price hike during winter.

Another dealer in Shorandam area, Noor Ahmad, said gas was being smuggled to Pakistan via the Spin Boldak border town and sold in Balochistan’sChaman, Abdullah Khan and other areas.

He warned the prices of gas would continue to increase until its smuggling to Pakistan was stopped. Residents also complained about increasing gas prices.

Coming from the second police district of Kandahar City, Ajmal, said the rate had registered a 35 afghanis increase in one month. He claimed gas smuggling alone could not be blamed for the price-hike because importers also manipulated prices.

“There is no control over prices here. It is up to big importers what price they fix and the common people have to bear the brunt because they have no choice,” he said, asking the authorities to put pressure on importers.

Oil and Gas Department Deputy Director KhwajaSafiullah Siddique acknowledged gas was being smuggled to Pakistan, but he said security organs had been ordered to curb the illegal practice.

However, he did not agree to the notion that one kg of gas was sold for 75 afghanis, saying big import firms sold for 60 afs a kg. But a number of residents confirmed the price of one kg of gas hovered between 70 and 75 afs.

A day earlier, Deputy Governor Abdul QayumPatyal directed border security officials to prevent gas smuggling to Pakistan. The 203rd border police zone commander, Gen. Abdul Hai Atrafi, said an investigation into the matter had been launched.

Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.

Give us a call on +93 20 220 1814