ISLAMABAD: All Pakistan Oil Tankers and Contractors Association (APOTCA) on Monday stopped oil supplies to Azad Jammu and , Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral to press the government for early notification of revised and increased freight charges.
“Since the government has delayed the increase in oil tanker fares for AJK, GB and Chitral, the oil supply to these areas has been completely choked,” said Nauman Ali Butt, the general secretary of the APOTCA, adding that the fuel shortage on the petrol pumps would start affecting people within a week after the existing stocks are exhausted.
Speaking to journalists, Mr Butt said the retail outlets currently have about 700,000 litres of fuel and it will take a week when the pumps would start drying out in those areas. The daily consumption was around 50,000 to 60,000 litres.
Except Pakistan State Oil, no other oil company has storage depot in those areas and therefore they were totally dependant on the supply of tankers on a daily basis. PSO has a depot in Jaglot while Chitral and AJK are without any depot.
Strike will continue till issuance of fare hike notification
Mr Butt said the oil supplies to AJK had been stopped partially as, despite the oil tankers strike, they were getting from other sources and routes. He said that supplies from other sources was not enough to run the AJK for long time and soon their petrol pumps would also dry out.
He said the strike will continue till a notification for the increase in fares was issued. “Even on Monday an Ogra official called and invited us for talks but we have simply told them that instead of wasting time the notification should be issued immediately,” he maintained.
He said the APOTCA representatives met with the Ogra chairman last week for the enhancement of freight charges for the oil tankers carrying oil to GB, AJK and Chitral, but response was not very positive. He said that fares for those areas have not been revised during the past six years.
“In October, the government committed that they will revise the freight rate upwards for AJK, GB and Chitral within one month but now they are using delaying tactics,” he said. The government had agreed enhancement of oil tanker freight charges in two phases.
In first phase, the government allowed an increase in fares for the oil transportation in city and muddy/hilly areas, while in second phase it promised to allow an increase in the freight charges for GB, AJK, Jaglot, Chitral and other hilly areas.
Last month, Ogra notified up to 64pc increase in freight rates for the movement of oil products by oil tankers through out the country for two years except for AJK, GB and Chitral after repeated strike calls by the tankers associations.
Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2017