PESHAWAR: Taking advantage of the suspension of the supply of natural gas to CNG stations, the transporters have increased fares across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on their own and started overcharging commuters.
The commuters told Dawn that the conductors of intra-city transport vehicles charged them Rs10 more than the official fares and intercity’s Rs50 extraclaiming they’d to use petrol due to the closure of CNG stations. They also said the fares of auto-rickshaws and taxicabs also went up.
Public Transport Owners Association, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, president Khan Zaman Afridi told Dawn that after the closure of CNG stations, the transporters had to increase transport fares or keep their vehicles off the roads.
“Most of our vehicles use natural gas but the closure of CNG stations has forced us to turn to the expensive petrol,” he said.
Claim use of petrol led to fare hike
Mr Afridi said the transporters would formally increase fares today (Wednesday) if the government didn’t meet their demand, including revision of fares for both intra-city and intercity transport unless the supply of natural gas to CNG stations was restored.
He said there was also petrol shortage in the areas, where power supply was suspended during routine loadshedding or in emergency as the generators didn’t work due to the suspension of gas supply.
Meanwhile, All Pakistan CNG Association, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, president Fazal Muqeem Khan said the suspension of natural gas to CNG stations was unconstitutional and a sheer violation of a high court decision.
He said there was no shortage of natural gas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but the federal government was violating Article 158 of the Constitution by not fulfilling the gas needs of the province on priority.
Mr Fazal said almost half of the total 600 CNG stations in the province remained closed on Tuesday due to raids by the SNGPL officials. He said gas suspension was announced from June 29 to July 5 but that period could be extended.
“The Peshawar High Court has already given its verdict on gas supply in light of Article 158 of the Constitution but the federal government is violating the court’s order,” he claimed.
Mr Fazal said Sindh and Punjab suffered gas crisis but Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had surplus gas, so its suspension to CNG stations and domestic consumers was beyond comprehension. He demanded of the lawmakers from KP to raise the issue inside and outside the assemblies.
He said the local businesses had begun witnessing revival after the prolonged closures but suddenly, the supply of gas to the filling stations had been suspended.
“We are already facing serious financial problems and are struggling to pay even utility bills and workers wages and the suspension of gas supply will add to our misery,” he said.
Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2021