ISLAMABAD: The All Pakistan Oil Tanker Owners Association (APOTOA) on Sunday warned the government and the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) that they will hold a protest in the capital against the proposed change in policy to allow Chinese vehicles to transport fuel.
“By changing the policy and allowing Chinese vehicles under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, we are being forced to stage a sit-in like the employees of Utility Stores Corporation (USC) did,” said APOTOA Chairman Aslam Khan Niazi at a press conference at the National Press Club.
Mr Niazi was accompanied by leaders of 21 labour unions including the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Mazdoor Union led by its general secretary Chaudhry Yaseen, All Pakistan Sports Board and Zarai Tarqiati Bank employees, Wapda Hydro Union, Public Works Department Union, Railway Workers Union and others.
Mr Niazi said the tankers being used for transporting fuel now were made of seven or eight gauge iron sheets due to which their tanks did not explode even if they fell off the vehicle.
“However, it is now being considered that Chinese vehicles should transport petroleum products. Chinese vehicles use 11 gauge iron sheets due to which they can explode easily,” he claimed.
He said oil tanker owners have never refused to even send their tankers to difficult areas where many of their drivers had been robbed or murdered.
Mr Niazi said Ogra had started acting on behalf of the ministries and was stopping the use of tankers by saying they had less horse power than the Chinese vehicles.
“The vehicles being used now have engines of 180 or 230 horsepower. Though it is said that Chinese vehicles have 320 horsepower, in reality they have half as much,” he said.
Mr Niazi demanded transport be declared an industry and transporters pay advance tax. He said the association will soon announce a sit-in in Islamabad and will not leave till their demands are met.
Chaudhry Yaseen said CDA employees have expressed solidarity with APOTOA just like they supported the employees of USC.
He said there is unrest among employees of many departments, including CDA, due to the policies of the bureaucracy.
“I suggest the government hold negotiations with APOTOA because otherwise, they will have no option but to use their constitutional right to protest,” he said.
Published in Dawn, October 29th , 2018
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