CHITRAL: Petrol pumps remained closed in Chitral on the call of the dealers association of Pakistan creating hardship for motorists and commuters on Thursday.
Chitral Petrol Dealers Association president Liaquat Ali said the filling stations would remain closed till acceptance of their demands. He said since the regime of Ayub Khan, petrol dealers had been given just two percent commission, adding no organization could work at such a low percentage of commission.
He said the central association of the dealers has demanded that the commission should be doubled to four per cent.
Mr Ali said despite the strike, fuel was being provided to emergency vehicles such as ambulances and vehicles of the health department used in vaccination drive.–Muhkam Uddin Ayuni
The Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association’s (PPDA) went on a nationwide strike against the government’s failure to increase their profit margin began on Thursday.
On the other hand, Federal Energy Minister Hammad Azhar said the dealers’ legitimate demands will be accepted but warned that those seeking a nine-rupee raise will be disappointed, dawn.com reported.
Azhar said that he was aware of the problems being faced by petrol pump owners as he reminded them that a summary for an increase in their profit margin was already with the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and the matter will be resolved in the next meeting.
The minister urged the dealers to reconsider their strike based on the inconvenience being faced by the general public.
However, he made it clear that the government will not accept any illegitimate demands.
“Some groups want to use this strike to have a raise of nine rupees,” said the minister. “A nine-rupee raise cannot be granted just to benefit a few companies.”
“Legitimate demands will be accepted, illegitimate ones will be not,” declared the minister.
Meeting of stakeholders underway
A meeting is underway between the representatives of all the major oil marketing companies, petroleum dealers and officials of the petroleum division.
“The petroleum division has sent its recommendations regarding the dealers’ profit margin to the ECC,” a spokesperson for the division said, adding that the recommendation was based on an independent report as he urged the PPDA to wait on the matter until the ECC conducts its own meeting.
The spokesperson said the dealers’ margin has seen a regular increase, the last of which was granted in April. He urged the dealers association to prove its responsibility in the larger interest of the country.
The spokesperson claimed there was no shortage of petroleum products in the country and that it was business as usual at fuel stations of all major companies.
Situation across the country
Privately-owned petrol stations ceased operations across the country today in pursuance of the call by the PPDA, although state-owned stations of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and a few other companies including Shell and Hascol are still operational, according to the Ministry of Energy.
In Peshawar, some PSO stations were open, while a vast majority were closed. Long queues had formed outside the select few that were still operational.