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Petrol pump operators end ‘strike’

01 March, 2011

KARACHI: Petrol pumps remained closed on Monday morning as the Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) called a one-day strike against the government’s perceived unwillingness to increase margins earned by dealers on fuel sales.

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KARACHI: Petrol pumps remained closed on Monday morning as the Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) called a one-day strike against the government’s perceived unwillingness to increase margins earned by dealers on fuel sales.

However, the pumps reopened in afternoon after intervention of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). A three-member delegation of MQM met with representatives of PPDA at the association’s office and assured them that their demands would be conveyed to the government.

“The government must immediately increase the commission margin collected by petroleum dealers by 50 paisa to Rs2 per litre on sales of petrol as well as diesel,” said PPDA managing committee member Mohammad Siddiq.

He explained that the formula for calculating margins charged by dealers was revised from four per cent to two per cent of retail price in 2004. “Then in 2008, it was further reduced by being fixed at Rs2 per litre and three months ago, the government squeezed us again by limiting the margin on petrol and diesel at just Rs1.5 per litre,” said Siddiq.

Hundreds of motorists and commuters were left stranded on Monday morning, as petrol stations across the city were shut down. Sporadic protests broke out in various areas, including Shahra-e-Faisal, Gulshan and Nazimabad, as citizens were agitated by the unavailability of petrol. Incidents of aerial firing and unrest prompted action from law enforcers and police and Rangers had to use batons and tear gas shells to disperse the protesters. The unrest drove MQM lawmakers to PPDA offices who successfully negotiated an end to the strike.

Earlier, while the strike was still on, petrol pumps owned and operated by Pakistan State Oil remained open. However, large queues of vehicles were formed at each of the seven locations, all of which are situated in the southern locales of Clifton and Defence.

Speaking to Our Sources, Sagheer Ahmed, part of the three-member delegation, said, “We conveyed to petrol pump operators that the public was being made to suffer and law and order risks grow in the city as a result of the strike and the reactions it sparked among the public.”

He explained that the delegates pressed the petroleum dealers to not cause hardships to people to make their demands be heard. He said the delegates have given a patient ear to reservations of petrol dealers and have assured them that their concerns will be raised at the appropriate forum.

PPDA President Abdul Sami Khan said that the strike had been called off on assurances by the director general for petroleum that the issue would be resolved soon.

Hinting at a country-wide shutdown of petrol pumps, Khan said, “We have given the government a timeframe of one month to address our demands, however, if we are forced to go on strike again, it will not be limited to just Karachi.”

End.


 
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