RAHIM YAR KHAN/ MANDI BAHAUDDIN:
Transporters in upper and south Punjab went on a strike on Tuesday, blocking roads and setting tyres on fire, with some protesting against being overcharged and others against being allowed only a limited amount of gas in a day.
In Mandi Bahauddin, transporters blocked the road in front of the man bus stand. They shouted slogans against the district administration and the government.
Public Transport Association President Mukhtar Gondal and Senior Vice President Haji Nasir said that they were being sold CNG at the Potohar region rate (Rs64.61) even though the city falls in the Gujranwala region (Rs54.15).
They said that they had pointed out the discrepancy to the district administration. The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, they said, had also endorsed their version and issued a notification to this effect. But, they complained, the CNG station owners were still charging them a higher rate.
The district administration could not be reached for comment.
The second protest was held by Rahim Yar Khan transporters who protested against the government decision that they be sold a limited amount of gas every day. They threatened to “paralyse the transport system” in the district if their concerns were not addressed.
The transporters blocked the Sukkur Adda Bus Stand, terming the government decision a “conspiracy against their businesses”, which they said was unacceptable to them.
Local transport association President Chaudhry Jamshed, Mohammad Ramzan, Matloob Ahmed and Mohammad Aslam addressed the protesters on the occasion.
Jamshed said all transporters rejected the government’s decision and warned of a countrywide strike.
Other speakers said that the transporters would lose millions if they were forced to run their vehicles on diesel. “The cost will then be passed on to the passengers as higher fares,” said Ramzan.
In Sadiqabad, the All Pakistan Transporters Association President (local chapter) Chaudhry Mohammad Afzal Warraich said said as a result of high prices of petrol, the transporters were finding it difficult to keep their businesses running.
He asked the government to reduce fuel prices and toll taxes for the transporters. He also said that the Motorway Police should not be allowed to fine transporters. If the demands of the transporters were not met, he said, there would be a countrywide strike.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2012.