The petrol shambles

This is a fixable problem

Editorial July 26, 2017

Car owners are crowding petrol station forecourts as the petrol crisis moves towards a peak. It has been weeks in coming but years in the making, and is not going to be resolved quickly given its complexity. The All Pakistan Oil Tanker Owners Association announced on Monday July 24th that they were suspending fuel supplies across the country for an indefinite period or until their demands are met. With petrol stations carrying a two-three day reserve in their tanks it is clear that supplies are going to run out by the end of the week if a solution is not found. The demands include a 70 per cent rise in freight rates that will have an obvious knock-on effect on the retail price of petrol, and a delay in the shifting of hundreds of tankers to the new parking terminal that has been built behind the PSO terminal in Zulfiqarabad. Resistance to the move is largely centred on the operators unwillingness to pay their share of the operation of the new terminal, a dispute that is years old.

Regulation of the petrol transport industry is lax, patchy and often absent completely, a state of affairs that the industry has little motivation to remedy. It is not as if they were not forewarned as the regulations and safety standards were formulated in 2009 and the industry demanded five years to implement them — a grace period now three years overdue. A Senate standing committee on petroleum and natural resources was told recently that 7,000 tankers were not in compliance with the safety standards notified by the regulator; this out of a total of 11,704 vehicles. The scale of the problem is obvious and the gross irresponsibility of the tanker owner/operators equally so. A failure to enforce standards rests with the various government departments and they share the responsibility for what amounts to a rolling accident that awaits a happening. This is a fixable problem. It is going to be painful in all areas but short-term pain has to be endured for long-term gain and the prevailing status-quo cannot — must not — be allowed to prevail. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2017.

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Feroz | 4 years ago | Reply Let us see who blinks first.
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