RAWALPINDI, Sept 16: The City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) on Monday gave transporters one week to remove gas cylinders installed in the passengers’ compartment or criminal cases would be lodged against them and else the cylinders would be forcibly removed.
On the other hand, transporters demanded a revised fare price list based on diesel and petrol rates instead of CNG, stating that it was difficult for them to run transport on reduced fares.
This was stated in a meeting between CDGR officials and transporters which was chaired by the District Coordination Officer Sajid Zafar.
The meeting was attended by senior officials of CDGR, Rawalpindi Transport Authority, traffic police and local police.
The City District Government Rawalpindi took up the issue after the Chiniot incident on September 7 in which a public transport vehicle collided with a truck and the former’s gas cylinders exploded, burning a dozen people.
Soon after, the Punjab government directed the district governments in the province to remove CNG cylinders from the passengers’ compartments.
Following the directives, CDGR tried to implement the orders on Saturday but transporters staged a protest at Katchery Chowk and demanded for the action to be stopped.
The local government then invited them on the table for discussion. Subsequently, more than 60 transporters gathered at the DCO office and presented their demands.
“Where should we keep the cylinders? Even on the roofs of the vehicles, they could be dangerous,” said Mohammad Akram, an official of the Twin Cities Transporters Association.
He said transporters had demanded that a new fare list should be issued based on diesel and petrol prices instead of the CNG. “The elite class is allowed to use CNG while the poor have to pay the price of petrol,” he said.
On the other hand, when contacted, DCO Zafar said the CDGR was implementing the directives of the Punjab government to remove CNG cylinders from public transports.
He said transporters had been asked to voluntarily remove CNG cylinders from the passengers’ compartments. Otherwise, police action would be taken to enforce the directives.
“The transporters have raised some concerns regarding the placement of CNG cylinders and the fare list. I requested them to submit their demands in writing so that I can present them to the provincial government,” he said.
The DCO added that the City District Government Rawalpindi had formed four teams with one official each of the police, traffic police and RTA to check whether or not transporters had removed CNG cylinders.
He said that these teams would be deployed at different squares and would check public transports.
He added that 5,000 transport vehicles in the district had certification of the gas cylinders but the placement of these cylinders was the main focus.