Public transport could come to a screeching halt across the country from June 6 if the government does not withdraw the gas infrastructure development cess it decided to impose in the recent budget.
The compressed natural gas (CNG) station owners and dealers threatened to go on strike if the government implemented the proposed cess, or tax, on gas products from July 1. The warning came a day after police used batons and water cannons to disperse a demonstration by the CNG associations and transporters outside the Governor House on Saturday.
At two parallel press conferences in Karachi and Hyderabad on Sunday, CNG Station Owners Association Pakistan chairman Malik Khuda Baksh, CNG Dealers Association chairman Abdul Sami Khan, Sindh CNG Association’s Mehfooz Ursani, Rafi Abbassi and others insisted that they wanted to talk to the government to resolve the issue amicably.
Malik Khuda Baksh said that according to the federal budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, the gas cess would increase the price of CNG by Rs13.23 per kilogram in Region-I, which includes Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, and Rs9.80 per kilogram in Region-II, which includes Sindh and Punjab. The government is trying to bring the price of CNG on par with that of petrol, alleged Sindh CNG Association members.
The CNG dealers added that they would also take their grievances to the Sindh High Court. “We were informed by the ministry of petroleum that no new gas cess would be imposed in the budget. But we have been deceived,” said Baksh.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2012.
More in SindhViolence claims 4 lives in Karachi