RAWALPINDI: Motorists in the garrison city spent Wednesday shuttling between petrol stations in search of fuel and long queues were witnessed at those stations where petrol was available.

The shortage was also experienced in adjoining areas of Taxila and Wah Cantonment, where unavailability of petrol disrupted routine life as many people were unable to reach workplaces and schools.

Consumers blamed the owners of filling stations for petrol unavailability and criticised the government for its failure to ensure uninterrupted supply of petrol.

Due to the shortage of fuel, few public transport vehicles were seen on the roads and taxicab owners raised fares.

On Jhelum Road and The Mall in Rawalpindi, some people were seen pushing their cars towards filling stations.

“The government has left consumers at the mercy of oil companies and failed to regulate them. First Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) became unavailable and now petrol,” said Muhammad Anwar, a motorist on The Mall.

“Petrol is also out of reach despite reduction in prices. I decided to leave my car at home and go to office by foot,” Ammar Ali said, sounding agitated.

Another motorist Shabir Hussain said filling stations have cut supply on purpose because the reduction in prices of petroleum products does not suit them and they wish to raise them again.

Owners of filling stations refuted these allegations and termed the shortage, a simple gap in demand and supply.

“After the reduction in prices and unavailability of CNG, the demand for petrol and diesel increased manifold,” said Nadeem Kiani, owner of a filling station in Commercial Market.

District Coordination Officer (DCO) Sajid Zafar Dall said that there was shortage of petrol at only a few petrol filling stations owned by Pakistan State Oil (PSO) as the supply has not arrived from their central depot.

He said that he had sent the teams of assistant commissioners across the district and they have restored supply at many places.

“Three different reasons have emerged for the shortage of fuel. Firstly, insufficient supply from PSO’s central depot to filling stations and secondly there is a wide gap between the demand and supply. Finally, some stations were closed because the owners assumed that petrol prices would increase on January 15,” he said.

He said that PSO filling stations opened in the evening as soon as supply was received from the central depot and remaining filling stations started work in the afternoon.

Published in Dawn January 15th , 2015

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