RAWALPINDI, Sept 9: Public transporters in Rawalpindi and Islamabad will observe a wheel-jam strike on Monday (today) against the recent upsurge in petroleum prices and traffic violation fines by the Punjab government.

Giving the strike call, Muttahida Transporters Federation said over 16,000 buses, wagons and Suzukis would remain off the roads.

Federation’s general secretary Malik Sultan Awan told this reporter that the strike was being observed to press the federal government to withdraw the recent increase in petroleum prices and the provincial government to decrease the rates of fines on traffic violations.

“CNG prices increased by Rs8 per kg and created problems for the transporters. Three-day weekly CNG closure has already forced us to find other ways for earning.”

He said the transporters were already suffering from losses due to the rising rates of petroleum products. The federal government increased diesel, petrol and CNG prices by 10 per cent, and the Punjab government increased only Re1 in the fares,” he complained.

He said the provincial government should issue adjustable fare list. When the prices of petroleum products increase, the fares should go up and when it decrease the fares should come down automatically.

He said the traffic police were imposing heavy fine of Rs500, Rs750 and Rs1,000 on the transporters for minor traffic violations. The provincial government has also increased the insurance guarantee fee from Rs300 to Rs3500.

He said that it would be impossible for the transporters to manage their businesses and household budgets as they had to pay heavy taxes and fines. When contacted, Regional Transport Authority (RTA) Secretary Syed Asad Kazmi said transporters were not observing the strike against the fares issued by the provincial government but against the increase in petroleum prices and traffic fines. “We have settled all the issues with the transporters and increased the fares of public transport by Rs2 per stop on Friday,” he said.

City Traffic Officer Ishtiaq Shah told Dawn that the traffic police would not minimise the rates of issued by the provincial government. “The transporters should meet the Punjab government authorities to resolve the matter instead of creating problems for the public,” he said.

He said that the traffic police would provide protection to those transporters who would not participate in the wheel-jam strike.

He said most of the transporters had assured the police that they would not take part in the strike.

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