ISLAMABAD - A critical situation haunted the motorists and commuters on Thursday across the country due to the closure of CNG stations as part of a countrywide strike call given by the All Pakistan CNG Station Owners Associations against the government’s decision to increase tax on CNG sector.
The All-Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Thursday reiterated that the strike would continue indefinitely if the government goes ahead with the move under the head Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC). He said that the strike would continue till the government takes back the hike in the price of CNG and cancels the proposed tax, called Cess. He said, “we need support from the public as we are fighting not only for ourselves but also for the public.”
He also made it clear that the government has yet not contacted the association for meeting to resolve the matter in the better interest of common man.
“All the CNG stations of KPK, Punjab and Balochistan will remain closed till the fulfilment of our demands as we are fighting not for ourselves but for the masses as well,” Ghiyas Paracha told the media.
On the second consecutive day of the strike, the motorists had to face a lot of troubles due the closure of CNG stations.
Taking advantage of the situation, public transporters as well as taxi drivers charged extra fares from commuters.
People from different walks of life while talking to TheNation expressed sever angers and serious concerns over the stubborn attitude of the government towards resolving the woes and worries of common man.
They said that though the country was facing severe energy crisis yet the influential baboos in the government had not taken any single concrete/pragmatic step that could be termed as a hallmark or milestone achievement. They said earlier the Pakistanis were very much disturbed over the long hours unscheduled electric power loadshedding, sky-high inflation rate, scarcity of water but now by imposing more tax coupled with price hike, problems were being created in the availability of CNG in the country. They were of the view that the government instead of doing anything to overcome the energy crisis had been found creating more and more problems for the general public with each passing day. “We are ready to pay the price of the commodity no matter if it is sky high but non-availability is unfortunate over all,” said a taxi driver.
Taxi drivers and public transporters while loudly voicing against the apathy of the situation said they had no choice but to increase their fares as they had to switch to petrol, which is more expensive fuel in comparison with CNG. Similarly, daily wages employees of CNG stations are badly affected with the closure of CNG stations. “Currently, we are getting only 50 percent wages against the usual daily income of Rs500,” a daily wager working on a CNG station said.
It is worth mentioning here that workers and supporters of the CNG associations meanwhile staged a protest demonstration and a sit-in at D Chowk in front of the Parliament House in favour of their demands. Dozens of people participated in the APCNGA demonstration and chanted slogans against proposed Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC).