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RAWALPINDI, June 8: While the Potohar region is facing acute shortage of compressed natural gas, the Punjab government is all set to launch 15 of the 300 CNG buses it purchased from China on the Rawalpindi-Gujar Khan route from Saturday (today).

Adviser to the Chief Minister Raja Ashfaq Sarwar will inaugurate the bus service and will arrive here from Gujar Khan on one of the buses on Saturday evening along with District Coordination Officer (DCO) Saqib Zafar.

The Regional Transport Authority (RTA) has fixed the bus fare at Rs65 per passenger for the 48-kilometre-long route. It has also allocated a bus stop on Liaquat Road in front of Gordon College.

Sources told Dawn on Friday that the provincial government had invited investors and transporters to get these buses on easy installments to run them on different city routes but they refused saying the vehicles were not reliable. The sources said the local transporters were also hesitant to run the buses due to unavailability of CNG seven days a week.

However, the 15 buses were given to the company of a transporter, who is brother of MPA Shaukat Aziz Bhatti, on easy installments.

Twin Cities Transporters Association President Malik Sultan Awan said former commissioner Zahid Saeed had invited them three months back to get the CNG buses on easy installments but they refused.

He said if any transporter was interested, they would purchase CNG buses on their own and the government should provide soft loans to them.

He termed the bus scheme politically motivated, adding it was not more than wastage of money.

He said CNG was vanishing from the country and the provincial government wanted to save its investment which had been made without consulting the transporters.

The DCO told Dawn that the city district government had made all arrangements to launch a CNG bus service in the city and in the first phase the 15 buses were being put on the Rawalpindi-Gujar Khan route.

He said the government had already launched the CNG buses in Lahore and Faisalabad.