Karak invents deadly kitchen jugard by scavenging for gas
KARAK, KP: In the afternoons you’ll find the boys walking home or on a motorcycle, carefully holding high massive delicate blimps or makeshift balloons. They aren’t going to a party. There is no celebration. But if they aren’t careful, say worried locals, there could be funerals.
This small town of Banda Daud Shah is desperate for gas. These balloons are not playthings but potential bombs. Inside each mega plastic bag is flammable natural gas. If exposed to a spark, it can trigger a potentially life-threatening fire.
This deadly trek for the boys of Banda Daud Shah has to be undertaken each day to meet household needs. A bag can store between three to four kilograms of gas that ensures they can cook their meals and, if lucky, have some left over for much-needed warmth during the winter nights.
The trip takes place daily between 3pm and 5pm with the boys making a beeline for the ruptured part of the main distribution line that supplies gas to the neighbouring district of Hangu. It runs through the Tehri area of Karak, where the line has been ruptured for two years. The leak makes the area dangerous but locals view it as a spigot for much-needed gas.
The boys are equipped with a nozzle along with their polythene bags. The nozzle is attached to the bags and plugged into the ruptured part of the gas line. Once inflated, the boys return with their bags.
The danger doesn’t end with the trek. Once home, the same spigot-like nozzle is plugged into the gas stove so they can cook. The fire is a few feet away from the gas-laden bag and only an ember away from turning into a raging ball of fire.
Tariq Khattak, who is a councilor, told Aaj News that the manner in which gas is being supplied through the area was a disaster waiting to happen.
The Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Company Limited, which runs the distribution network, has failed to fix the problem despite the passage of two years.
Locals say that the both the SNGPL and the district administration blame each other. National and provincial representatives remain hard to get a hold of.
What is ironic is that the sub-district Banda Daud Shah, with a population of 155,642 according to the 2017 census, is the biggest producer of oil and gas in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, with reserves discovered over a decade ago. According to a 2020 APP report, exploration and production companies produced around 8,543,761.66 barrels (BBL) oil and 64,967.32 million cubic feet (MMCF) gas from five fields of the Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from July 2019 to May 2020.
Activist Farhan Khattak says that that despite remonstrations and demonstrations, they have not been provided gas even though it is produced in their own region.
Locals say that more than 18 districts of Punjab, including major industrial units, get their gas from the fields in Karak. The area also suffers from massive power outages, with residents saying that on a good day they get two hours of electricity.
According to Fazal Hakim, a village councilor, the people of Karak are treated like orphans. “We are literally playing a deadly game on a daily basis.”
For the latest news, follow us on Twitter @Aaj_Urdu. We are also on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Comments are closed on this story.