All CNG stations in big and small cities across country including Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Islamabad and etc. are closed on Thursday following a strike call on Wednesday by the All Pakistan CNG Association to suspend operations for an indefinite period, Geo news reported.
All CNG stations have remained closed since yesterday while a few company-operated pumps continued supplying gas, with some supplying at higher rates. The APCNGA called for commencement of a countrywide strike to protest an increase in CNG prices and gas load shedding from Wednesday, December 30.
CNG stations in Township, Garden Town, Johar Town, Faisal Town, Model Town, Iqbal Town, Gulberg and other areas in Lahore are still closed. Motorists and transporters were forced to opt for petrol, resulting in higher transportation charges for the public.
Although a few company-operated stations were supplying CNG, but motorists had to wait for hours in long queues to get their tanks filled. Some CNG stations even started supplying gas before sunrise, but at higher rates. CNG is normally available at Rs 42-45 per kilogramme but was sold for Rs 50 per kg after the strike.
“I was going for a morning walk when I saw a CNG station open. I returned home immediately and took my vehicle to the station and got the tank filled,” said Sadeed Ather, a banker, adding he was running his vehicle on petrol due to non-availability of CNG.
Rickshaw drivers also increased their fares, as they were forced to run their vehicles on petrol. “We have not increased the fares but were forced to run our rickshaws on petrol,” said Saleem Salamat, a rickshaw driver, adding passengers also argued with him for charging high rates. “Petrol is at least 30 percent more expensive than CNG, so the fares automatically go up,” he added.
APCNGA Punjab President Shuja Anwer said the strike call had been given for the benefit of the people, who suffer the most when CNG prices are increased. He said the strike was successfully observed in Punjab.
APCNGA will launch protest march from Lahore Chambers to Governor house today meanwhile, All Pakistan Petroleum and CNG Association (APPCNGA) continued sale of CNG in some parts of Lahore, insisting that they are remedy to public sufferings at this juncture.
More than 250 CNG stations in Peshawar and over 450 CNG stations in Karachi are closed as part of nationwide strike but nonetheless, some CNG stations owned by petroleum companies are still selling gas on their stations in Peshawar, sources revealed.