All the filling stations remained closed on Wednesday as complete strike was observed by the owners here for the acceptance of their demands including an increase in their profit in POL products.

In Hafizabad, the district administration remained failed to convince the owners of filling station to call off their strike which continued for the third consecutive day as a result of which the transporters and commuters faced a lot of hardship and inconvenience.

The bus stands presented a deserted look and the hapless passengers were running from one stand to other but failed to fetch a vehicle to reach their destinations as the transporters lack petrol or CNG.

However, the unauthorised roadside dealers were selling petrol at more than Rs. 200/- per litre. According to spokesman of filling station owners association, the strike would continue till acceptance of their demands viz; stoppage of imposition of arbitrary fines by the administration, cancellation of storage licenses of roadside dealers and increase in the commission by companies.

Meanwhile, Rana Khalid Mehmood, the president of Awami Mahaz, called upon the district administration to take strict action against the filling station owners and force them to start the supply of petrol to the transporters to relive the commuters from mental agony and hardship in reaching their destination.

Meanwhile, people suffered great ordeal due to paucity of patrol, diesel and CNG in Sialkot district for the second consecutive day. There was no CNG gas due to closure by the government. Students of the government and private educational institutions and the thousands of the industrial workers of the local factories suffered difficulties in their transportation as their transport vehicles remained stuck due to unavailability of CNG gas, diesel and patrol.

The main reason behind the fuel paucity was stated to be the recent big decline in POL prices by the federal government, due to which the owners of the filling stations kept their filling stations closed, displaying that the fuel is not available. The people cursed the owners of the filling stations and the government for critical situation.

The Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association said the strike would continue till the acceptance of their demands. PPDS Bahawalpur chapter President Muhammad Yaseen said that in 2000, the government had made a pact with filling station owners that sales margin will be increased over time. He said the sales margin in 2004 and 2005 was four percent. Instead of increasing the share, the government has reduced it to less than two percent, he added.

He said that the owners pay sales tax and income tax but their share of profit remain low. Reiterating the long standing demand of the owners, Yaseen said petrol pumps across south Punjab will remain closed till their demands were met. He said that the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority had reneged on its commitment to raise their commission.

He said, “We demanded five percent of sale price. Currently, we are getting Rs1.35 per litre on all petroleum products. Citizens in Bahawalpur are facing many problems due to non-availability of petrol.