Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday directed countrywide crackdown on gas theft and said that no leniency should be shown towards those found involved in the crime.“Rs 50 billion gas is being stolen annually while the government is giving Rs 100 billion subsidy to 91 percent gas consumers,” the prime minister stated while chairing a high-level meeting on various issues of gas sector. The prime minister was informed that the Rs 50 billion stolen gas was being put in the category of ‘unaccounted for gas’ and the burden of stolen or wasted gas was passed on to the consumers. To this, the prime minister said that the performance of heads of gas companies would be evaluated from the stoppage of ‘unaccounted for gas’.The prime minister was briefed in detail about the demand and supply of gas in summer and winter seasons, present arrangements to fulfill demand of gas for domestic, industrial and other sectors and the future requirements. He was also briefed about the policy to fulfill requirements of gas for the years 2019 and 2020. The meeting decided to bring 200 MMCFD more gas keeping in view the requirements of gas for electricity and other sectors during the coming months. The prime minister was briefed about the complaints of inflated gas bills. He was told that despite the costly contracts for buying imported gas and other expenditures, merely 12 to 35 percent increase had been made in the bills of 91 percent of the consumers. While those who consumed 500 to 1000 mf gas per month had been issued increased bills keeping in view the original price of gas, the total number of such consumers were less than 10 percent, the meeting was told.The meeting was also briefed about the steps taken for discovery of gas and the facilities given to such companies. The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Advisor to PM on Trade Abdur Razak Dawood, Chairman Task Force on Energy Nadeem Babar, federal secretaries, OGRA chairman, managing directors of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and other officials.At a separate meeting, the prime minister was informed that properties worth over Rs 200 billion of Matrooka Waqf Imlak including 15,619 units and 46,885 sub-units had been identified. He was further informed that Matrooka Waqf Imlak was receiving Rs 400 million per annum as income from its plazas, which was far below the actual potential.This information was shared with the prime minister during a meeting he chaired here regarding the use of properties of Auqaf and Matrooka Waqf Imlak for the projects of public interest. The meeting was attended by Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Punjab Minister for Auqaf Syed Saeed-ul-Hassan, Secretary Religious Affairs Mushtaq Ahmad and other officers.The prime minister was briefed by the secretary religious affairs about the progress on the recovery of 700 Murabba (7,082 Hectares) of land including agricultural land in Nankana Sahib. The meeting was also briefed about the progress on the posting of chairman of Matrooka Waqf Imlak and the establishment of Task Force on Matrooka Imlak as well as the Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.During a briefing given to the prime minister about the properties of Punjab Auqaf Department as well as the measures being taken by the Auqaf Department, he was told that with 435 mosques and 544 mausoleums being run under arrangement of Punjab Auqaf Department, the department had 71,101 acres of property. The meeting was also briefed about the income and expenditure of Auqaf Department.The prime minister said that after the assessment of expenditures to be incurred on the repair and look after of Mazars, Khanqahs, and Matrooka buildings, a comprehensive program should be formulated for use of remaining money on public welfare projects. He also directed to formulate a comprehensive strategy in consultation with the stakeholders to utilize the Matrooka Imlak for the purposes of health, education, shelter homes and other public welfare projects.Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan urged members of National Assembly (MNAs) to remain in constant contact with their constituents to identify their problems with special focus on education, health and employment and strive for their solution.The prime minister was talking to PTI parliamentarians from Rawalpindi Division at the PM Office. Those who met the prime minister included Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Minister for Health Regulations Aamir Mahmood Kayani, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Special Assistant Naeem ul Haq and other MNAs.They informed the prime minister about problems of their constituents and presented proposals. The prime minister assured the parliamentarians that important committees like Zakat and Ushar, market committees, Baitul Mal and waste management committees would be announced soon. He said the government was giving special focus on waste management field, particularly waste to energy.Published in Daily Times, February 13th 2019.