Life halts as CNG stations strike
07 June, 2012
ISLAMABAD: On the call of the All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA), filling stations remained closed in almost all the major cities of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and urban Sindh against the increase in CNG prices.
Commuters and motorists had to suffer a lot due to strike of CNG dealers.
Earlier, long queues of vehicles were witnessed in major cities on Tuesday night after the association announced the strike. Some CNG stations inflated the price of the commodity on their own, selling it at Rs 96.97 per kg.
However, the CNG stations remained opened in some areas of interior Sindh and some parts of Balochistan, where CNG dealers refused to be part of the strike.
Sindh CNG Association Chairman Dr Zulfiqar Yousfani said the weekly closure and growing inflation had affected the CNG business of more than 300 association members.
Meanwhile, APCNGA's protest rally against proposed cess on CNG turned violent when activists started marching towards the Governor's House and police baton-charged them, injuring two youths at Shadman Chowk.
More than 1,000 activists gathered at China Chowk in Shadman where a protest camp had already been set up by the officer-bearers of the association for last two days.
Dozens of the activists also came from Sahiwal on trucks, while office-bearers of the rickshaw and wagon drivers' associations also joined the camp. They burnt tyres and raised slogans against the government, adding that the cess would raise the CNG prices by Rs 15 per kg.
APCNGA Senior Vice Chairman Capt (r) Raja Shujah Anwar told our sources that two boys, who work at a CNG station, were injured when police baton-charged.
He also said that no CNG station would open today (Thursday).
Meanwhile, APCNGA Supreme Council Chairman Ghias Ahmed Paracha has given a call for holding another protest today in Islamabad against the cess on CNG and load shedding. He warned CNG station owners to not open businesses; otherwise they would be boycotted and excluded from the association.
On the other hand, Sindh CNG Dealers Association decided to keep the filling stations open, going against the APCNGA decision. Meanwhile, a Petroleum Ministry spokesman termed the call for an indefinite strike "unjustified and uncalled for". He said the cess would be imposed in phases and on all sectors after due consultation with stakeholders.
Over in Balochistan, APCNGA members said dealers would not accept the decision to impose cess at any cost. Addressing a press conference at the Quetta Press Club, APCNGA Balochistan Chairman Iftikhar Ahmed said the increase was aimed at destroying the CNG sector. "Investment of billions will go to waste and discourage any future investment in the fuel sector," he said.