LAHORE: Though there is almost no hurdle apparently, authorities in various districts are allegedly pressing the petroleum dealers to either keep their pumps dry or at least avoid giving petrol or diesel to the participants riding in cars, vans, trucks etc., in the ongoing JUI-F’s Azadi March.
“I received a call from association president from Attock on Tuesday. He told me that a senior police official asked him to keep pumps dry. I replied to him to ask the officer to request him in writing rather than issuing verbal orders,” Lahore Petroleum Dealers Association President Khwaja Atif told Dawn.
Including more than 375 in Lahore, there are around 4,300 petrol pumps in Punjab, fulfilling fuel need of a huge number of motorists. After Karachi, Lahore tops in having over 375 filling stations meeting demand of about two million litres of petrol alone on a daily basis.
“We are also being asked [furtively] to control our stocks. But we have so far decided not to shut our pumps, as how can we refuse if someone comes to us and asks for fuel. And who will secure our business if the people, including the participants in Azadi March, start ransacking our installations [on refusal],” Mr Atif questioned.
On the other hand, Petroleum Tankers Association too are set to observe a wheel jam strike from Wednesday (today) against the government for not resolving their issues despite promises.
“The pumps’ stocks are squeezing fast and the situation will start aggravating from Wednesday (today) due to strike by the oil tankers’ association. There would probably be no fuel supply to Lahore by the oil tankers on Wednesday,” he said.
Mr Atif held the government responsible for the strike, as it started issuing notices to the owners to convert their tankers as per Ogra standard without following the deadline it had earlier given to them. “Actually the government had already given a timeline to the tankers association in this regard. But surprisingly, the government withdrew its decision and suddenly started issuing notices,” he said.
Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2019