LHC restrains Punjab government's plan for new buses

Petitioner argues that $700m would need to be spent to manufacture and supply the fuel required for the new buses.

Our Correspondent September 03, 2012

LAHORE: Justice Ijazul Ahsan of the Lahore High Court on Monday restrained the Punjab government from opening bids for the purchase of 1200 diesel buses.

The judge also sought reply from the provincial government by September 17, the next date of hearing.

The Punjab government had planned to open the tender on September 3. The court also directed the petitioner to make all major oil companies and the Environmental Protection Agency as parties in the petition so that they could be consulted.

The petitioner, Gujranwala Tours (PVT) through their counsel Taffazul H Rizvi challenged the process of bids called by the provincial government.

Rizvi argued that the government wanted to purchase 1200 Euro II compliant fuel buses, which would be given to operators on soft term loan basis. He submitted that the government would spend huge amount of public money to procure these buses, which would have to run on diesel fuel which is Euro II compliant. This fuel, he contended, is not currently available in Punjab. Rzvi further added that 45 per cent extra would have to be spent to buy the buses adding it would be a futile exercise and sheer wastage of public money due to non-availability of the specific diesel fuel.

The petitioner asked that the government first start the production of the Euro II compliant fuel. He argued that at least of $700 million would have to be spent to start production of the fuel and that existing refineries will not be interested to invest such a huge amount.

The counsel said that his client had confirmed from various oil refineries about their inability to produce this diesel in the near future. He further warned of an imminent breakdown of Euro II specification buses if an attempt was made to run them on Euro I fuel.

He submitted that in the recent past, government had procured CNG buses which had to stand idle for three days a week due to non-availability of the fuel.

Informing that he was in the transport business for the last 15 years and owned 125 buses, the petitioner requested the judge to restraint the provincial government from procuring these buses given that the required fuel was unavailable.

Additional advocate general negating the petition, submitted that presently Euro II fuel is available with the Parko oil suppliers and was easily available in the province. He added that the petition was baseless and should be dismissed for having no solid ground.

In reply to the AAG’s submission, Rizvi admitted that Parko produced the fuel, but contended that the refinery had a very meager share in Punjab’s diesel market given it was only providing the fuel in Islamabad.

After listening to the arguments, the judge stayed the opening of the tender and remarked that all stakeholders should be consulted.


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