Action launched in Chiniot against filling stations over petrol shortage

Published June 27, 2020
Petrol pump owners threaten to launch a complete shutdown if administration does not stop ‘harassing’ them. — INP/File
Petrol pump owners threaten to launch a complete shutdown if administration does not stop ‘harassing’ them. — INP/File

CHINIOT: The district administration has started taking steps against the filling stations to overcome the shortage of petrol and control its price but not before the people have faced the petrol shortage for 24 days.

It started raiding the petrol pumps through special magistrates and assistant commissioners who were taking action against those responsible for the shortage of petroleum products.

On the other hand, the petrol pump owners have threatened to launch a complete shutdown if the administration does not stop ‘harassing’ them.

The Chiniot district has been facing continuous petrol shortage for more than three weeks as very few pumps are selling petrol despite getting enough supply. They are allegedly selling the commodity on the black market at inflated rate of up to Rs100 and Rs500 per litre against fixed rate of Rs75.

The shops at every nook and corner of the city as well as other rural areas are selling loose petrol in bottles with impunity. Petrol, wherever available, is being sold at Rs100 for motorcycle and rickshaw and up to Rs500 per litre for cars and other vehicles.

Lalian tehsildar Naveed Iqbal, with special branch employees, raided the Hira Filling Station in Lalian town and found a sufficient quantity in reserve tank but the filling station was not selling it. He imposed Rs20,000 fine on the filling station owner and directed him to resume sale.

Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Deputy Director Umar Farooq raided Ahmad Bakhsh Filling Station and Chiniot Filling Station on the Jhang Road and found both of them selling petrol after tampering with measurement. Both the filling stations were sealed and a report was submitted to the deputy commissioner for further action.

Following these raids, the office-bearers of the local Petrol Pumps Association, led by Sheikh Mohsin and Abdul Rehman, held a press conference and warned the district administration against the ‘harassing’ the pump owners.

They said the total demand of all pumps of Chiniot was 100,000 litres per day but they were getting hardly 30,000 litres. “This is the reason for shortage and the administration must make efforts to overcome the supply shortage instead of raiding pumps.”

They also claimed that they were managing to get supplies from the black market at the inflated rate of Rs80 per litre, asking how they could sell the commodity at Rs75. They threatened to go on a strike if the administration continued with its action.

Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Riaz claimed the administration and special magistrates were inspecting petrol pumps to ensure quality, quantity and supply at the fixed rates. He said the officials were also checking hoarding and black marketing of petrol and that the raids would continue in the future.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2020

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