After enduring a tormenting day without CNG on Wednesday, the city’s commuters were set to face more troubles as the three bodies representing the gas dealers have also announced keeping filling stations shut on Thursday (today) unless the government assured them that there would be no further tax imposed on the commodity.
Almost all gas filling stations in the city remained closed on Wednesday since midnight on a strike call by the All Pakistan CNG Association, the CNG Station Owners Association and the CNG Dealers Association. Motorists were forced to queue at filling stations before the deadline, resulting in massive traffic gridlocks in many parts of the city on Tuesday night.
Motorists faced immense difficulties as many of them were unable to have their vehicles filled. Many public transport vehicles converted to run on gas, including buses and minibuses, remained off the roads, causing extreme difficulties for thousands of commuters.
Taking advantage of the situation, taxi and rickshaw owners charged exorbitant fares from commuters. Many people, who could not afford to pay the high fares, were seen walking towards their destinations.
The CNG associations congratulated the owners of the filling stations for staging a successful strike in the entire country.
“We only have two demands. The price parity between CNG and petrol should not be increased beyond 55 percent and no new tax should be levied on gas prices,” Shabbir Sulemanji, president of the All Pakistan CNG Association told.
Declaring the strike on Wednesday “extremely successful”, he said CNG filling stations would also remain closed on Thursday unless the government accepted the associations’ demands.
Malik Khuda Bux, the chief of the CNG Stations Owners Association, also vowed to continue the strike, hoping that the government would accept the demands by Thursday.
KTI extends support to CNG associations
The Karachi Transport Ittehad (KTI), the representative body of public transporters, has announced it will extend full cooperation to the protesting CNG associations although the former has not joined the latter’s strike.
President KTI Irshad Hussain Bukhari told on Wednesday that the levying of a new tax on compressed natural gas (CNG) would also severely affect the transporters as it could increase the CNG price up to Rs90 per kilogram.
He was responding to the closure of CNG stations in the metropolis on the call of three CNG associations in protest against the proposed levy on the dry fuel.