PESHAWAR: Commuters and transporters faced difficulties as over 600 compressed natural gas (CNG) stations remained shut in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on the second consecutive day on Sunday due to suspension of gas supply to the filling stations.
In Peshawar, traffic on the roads remained thin while people were seen waiting for cabs as most of the public transport is being run on CNG. Besides, the owners of public transport vehicles also charged double fares, saying they are using petrol due to non-availability of gas.
“We will increase the fares at least by 20 per cent because 90 per cent of the public service vehicles (PSVs) are using CNG who have to shift the vehicles on petrol in a state of compulsion,” Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Muttahida Transport Union president Khan Zaman Afridi told Dawn.
He said it was the duty of provincial transport department to issue revised fare list during the CNG suspension otherwise most of the passenger vehicles would remain off the road or they would start overcharging passengers unilaterally.
Transporters hint at increasing fares
Similarly, All Pakistan CNG Owners Association provincial president Fazal Muqeem said gas supply had been suspended across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for four consecutive days and both commuters and transporters were facing serious problems.
“SNGPL has suspended the gas supply, but the notification does not carry signatures of the relevant authority otherwise our association is ready to move court against it,” he said.
He said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was consuming about half of the gas produced by the province and rest was supplied to Punjab.
He said under Article 158 of the Constitution the province in which a well-head of natural gas was situated should have precedence over other parts of the country in meeting its requirements from that well-head, but the government was violating the law.
Mr Muqeem said the Peshawar High Court had also ordered the government to give priority to local consumers, but SNGPL did not pay heed to the court decision.
“We along with our children will start protest demonstrations if the government does not accept our demands,” Mr Muqeem warned and added that the closure of CNG stations would cause mass unemployment as the stations owners were unable to pay wages to the workers in the prevailing situation.
He recalled that Imran Khan had promised to provide jobs to millions of people and construct houses for the poor people, but now he had forgotten his commitments.
He said the people would follow Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to start observing sit-ins at D-Chowk in Islamabad as the investors were not ready to face financial losses.
He said that in some areas of the province, including Swat and Abbottabad, the police had forcibly closed CNG stations despite suspension of gas.
He said such tactics would discourage the investors and as a result the national economy would suffer.
A number of motorists also criticised the government for suspension of natural gas to the CNG stations.
Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2020