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CNG dealers, govt stand-off continues

June 07, 2012

ISLAMABAD, June 6: As the strike by the CNG sector continues without any sign of a settlement with the government, the taxi drivers of the twin cites fleeced the commuters on Wednesday on the grounds that they were running their vehicles on petrol, a relatively costly fuel.

With the government showing no sign of yielding, the CNG associations announced to continue their strike and stage protest rallies on Thursday.

But the strike has provided an excellent opportunity to taxi drivers to make a quick buck.

“The main problem is that rickshaws are not allowed in federal capital and we have to depend on taxis only,” said Azhar Syed, a private employee in Blue Area. “Since the wagons were comparatively scarce I opted for taxi which charged me Rs500 from Chandni Chowk to Blue Area,” he said.

On the other hand, All Pakistan CNG Association announced that their members would continue strike for indefinite period, and said on Thursday they would protest at China Chowk against the price increase and gas load shedding.

The CNG Association members also criticised the government for backing out on their commitments.

“The problem is that secretary petroleum is a liar he refuses to acknowledge all commitments he made on camera or even in writing,” said Raja Wasim, who spent the busy day at his station in Super Market arguing with customers, who wanted to have CNG. He said the government was trying to suppress the CNG sector and replace it with LPG due to vested interest.

Meanwhile, Secretary Petroleum, Mohammad Ejaz Chaudhry in a statement downplayed the position taken by the CNG Association and termed the strike as unjustified.

“The factual position is that the Ministry of Petroleum has not imposed any new tax or cess on CNG,” his statement said adding, “The proposed increase in Gas Infrastructure Development Cess is a part of money bill by finance division which is proposed to be levied in a phased manner.”

The ministry has clarified its position saying the CNG sector was not discriminated against in gas allocation, tariff, cess and load management.

The Chairman, All Pakistan CNG Association, Ghias Paracha, talking to Dawn challenged that he would quit the CNG business if any of his statement released recently relating to CNG tariff and gas allocations were proved wrong.