Transporters of Islamabad and Rawalpindi had announced a wheel jam strike for today but called it off at the eleventh hour after successful negotiations with officials from the local government. The transporters, who had threatened the strike in order to protest against CNG load shedding, were assured by officials that uninterrupted supply of the low cost fuel would be resumed.
This was conveyed to the transporters after a series of meetings with officials. The administration has maintained that the load shedding would continue as per schedule but a mechanism will be devised for separate supply to the transporters. Talks regarding that matter are expected to yield results by the end of the week.
“The government assured the transporters that they would be provided CNG throughout the week while the two-and-a-half-day suspension of CNG for other vehicles will continue,” said a senior official of the local administration who was part of the dialogue process.
“Our meetings continued for three days in which major demands of the transporters were accepted,” he said, although he did not mention how the transporters will be supplied CNG during the 60-hour load shedding observed across the twin cities.
The president of Islamabad-Pindi Transporters Association, Sultan Awan, met Secretary Petroleum and Natural Resources Ejaz Chaudhry and officials of the local administration to develop a mechanism for said purpose, where the idea of designated CNG stations was discussed.
It has been reported that the administration would allow pre-designated CNG pumps to provide CNG to transporters during the load shedding, however that system is not without its flaws.
All Pakistan CNG Association has already raised reservations over such a mechanism. Chairman of the association Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha believes such measures are impractical and would leave a lot of room for error. He also questioned that how would the CNG stations be designated to supply transporters during load shedding and remarked that objections would be raised by remaining CNG stations to such a deal as it would be harmful to their business.
“Transporters account for around 60 per cent of CNG consumption, so the government should rather reduce the off days from three to one,” he maintained.
It is estimated that around 2,000 minibuses, wagons and coaches operate 30 routes in the twin cities, carrying thousands of passengers.