ISLAMABAD -  The deadlock between the government the All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association (APOTA) still persist and the association warned of discontinuing oil supply if their demands were not accepted till August 20.

“Our talks with National Highway Authority (NHA) and Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) have failed and the prime minister should resolve the issue till August 20 otherwise APOTA will discontinue oil supply,” said APOTA Chairman Yousaf Shawani.

Last month, after the oil tanker strike, it was agreed that APOTA will hold talks with NHA and Ogra for the resolution of the issues faced by the oil tankers operators. “No one is ready to listen to us, neither Ogra nor NHA. National Highway Authority is not ready to provide relief to the oil tankers and wants us to modify our fleet overnight which is not possible. We don’t want to go on strike but the government compelling us to resort to strike,” he said.

Shawani alleged Ogra of stereotype and said they are not cooperating with APOTA for the resolution of the issues. The government wants the upgradation of tankers in one go but there are thousands of tankers and it is not possible to upgrade all of them within day, week or month, he said. “We are ready to follow the Ogra’s quality standards but it cannot be done overnight. There are three companies who can upgrade the tankers and can built 350 to 400 tankers a months and if we want to replace all the substandard tankers it will require couple of years,” he added.

It is pertinent to mention here that in July, APOTA and APCCA observed three-day countrywide strike in protest of the implementation of 2009 safety rules imposed by the Ogra. On July 24, Ogra initiated checking the tankers being used for by oil marketing companies to reduce the frequent accidents being caused by substandard tankers. According to Ogra, around 40 percent of oil tankers are substandard and do not fulfil the criteria. Beside the Ogra regulations, the representatives of the oil tanker association were critical of Motorway and NHA police treatment and alleged them of highhandedness.

The APOTA presented 10 items demand list to the government which include delaying the upgradation of tankers, the increase in freight rate, abolition of National Logistic Cell (NLC) from the oil transportation business, stoppage of oil transportation to Peshawar via train, oil tankers be allowed to pass through the Kohat tunnel, decrease of explosive permit rate, The current regulations system be continued and stricter laws not be implemented etc.

Due to fuel shortage at petrol pumps the entire country came to stand still as a result of the strike and then after the government assurance to meet the demands of the APOTA the strike was called off. Now once again All Pakistan Oil Tanker Association has given the deadline to the government for meeting their demands and said that if their demands were not met by August 20 they will observe countrywide strike.